How to Select a Physical Therapist Program near Homer 99603
Receiving a physical therapy degree near Homer AK is an essential first step to launching a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated due to illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research the ones you are considering to ensure they will provide a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is enroll in a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated besides location and cost. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists practice in varying settings, such as Homer AK private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also strive to stop any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Homer AK medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are three physical therapist degree options available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the one degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short summaries of degree levels that are available in the Homer AK area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are usually offered by community colleges, and take about two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically part of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist training to prepare students to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally require 4 years to complete and usually include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement if you want to become a practicing licensed physical therapist. The degree program must also be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to finish, making the total commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential component in addition to the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not just for graduation but in some states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer offered in the United States. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Degrees Online
Although not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees available, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online portion of the course of study can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Homer AK residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat lower than comparable on campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you probably have made a decision regarding some of your preliminary queries, including the kind of physical therapist degree you want to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the Homer AK area and throughout Alaska, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college choices. Also, you want to be sure that you enroll in the program that is ideal for you. That’s why we have put together a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Find out if the programs you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As earlier mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you select an online school, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can investigate a PT school’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with some Homer AK physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your school selections. It may also be prudent to contact the Alaska Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two significant statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist programs you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might mean that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Homer AK area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also verifies that the program has a broad network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the school you select provides both exceptional training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the physical therapy colleges you are assessing have relationships with Homer AK hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional relationships in the Homer healthcare community and help with job placement after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they select will need to be within driving distance of their Homer AK home. Students who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? Most DPT schools offer some form of financial aid to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are considering have a financial aid office and find out what kind of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. A number of physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapist college you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Homer AK area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Homer Alaska?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Homer AK area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Homer is a city in Kenai Peninsula Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. It is 218 miles southwest of Anchorage. According to the 2010 Census, the population is 5,003, up from 3,946 in 2000. Long known as The "Halibut Fishing Capital of the World." Homer is also nicknamed "the end of the road," and more recently, "the cosmic hamlet by the sea."
Homer is on the shore of Kachemak Bay on the southwest side of the Kenai Peninsula. Its distinguishing feature is the Homer Spit, a narrow 4.5 mi (7.2 km)) long gravel bar that extends into the bay, on which is located the Homer Harbor.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 22.4 square miles (58 km2), of which 10.6 square miles (27 km2) is land and 11.9 square miles (31 km2) is water. The total area is 52.83% water.
Choose the Best Physical Therapy Training Program near Homer AK
Selecting the right physical therapy college is a necessary first decision you need to make to start a rewarding career in the healthcare profession. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you enroll in should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are other important questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapist program, keep in mind that many variables will guide you to your ultimate decision. You might want to visit each of the colleges to view their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me realize my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the best choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Homer AK.
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