How to Pick a Physical Therapy Program near Sterling 80751
Getting a physical therapy degree near Sterling CO is a critical first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated as a result of injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the necessary education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to evaluate the ones you are looking at to make certain they will provide a superior education and meet your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is select a school just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be considered besides cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists work in varying locations, such as Sterling CO hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Sterling CO health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Offered
There are 3 physical therapy degree options available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief summaries of degrees that are available in the Sterling CO area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often made available by community or junior colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist education to ready students to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they normally require four years to complete and often incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required if you want to become a licensed practicing 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 3 years to finish, making the total commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an important element along with the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not just for graduation but in several states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer available in the United States. A number of practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Degrees Online
While not as prevalent as the more traditional options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy programs available, even more at the graduate level. Because of 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 school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online part of the curriculum can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Sterling CO home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition may be somewhat lower than comparable on-campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you most likely have made a decision regarding several of your preliminary questions, 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 because there are numerous PT colleges within the Sterling CO area and across Colorado, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college choices. Furthermore, you need to make certain that you pick the school that is right for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Find out if the schools you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national 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 choose an online college, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several ways you can research a PT college’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with a few Sterling CO physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your college selections. It may also be prudent to contact the Colorado Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two significant statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapy schools you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Sterling CO area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even outstanding. It also confirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students get internships or employment after graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the school you choose furnishes both superior training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Colorado or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. 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 and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the physical therapy schools you are interested in have relationships with Sterling CO hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Sterling health care community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapist school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Sterling CO residence. Students who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required 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 don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Support Offered? The majority of DPT schools offer some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial aid department and find out what kind of aid is obtainable. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapy school you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Sterling CO 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 credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Sterling Colorado?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Sterling CO area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
As of the census of 2000, there were 11,360 people, 4,604 households, and 2,790 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,653.1 people per square mile (638.4/km²). There were 5,171 housing units at an average density of 752.5 per square mile (290.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.75% Caucasian American, 0.75% African American, 0.79% Native American, 0.41% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 5.60% from other races, and 1.62% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 14.20% of the population.
There were 4,604 households out of which 30.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.2% were married couples living together, 10.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.4% were non-families. 34.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 3.03.
In the city, the population was spread out with 25.5% under the age of 18, 12.9% from 18 to 24, 25.5% from 25 to 44, 19.6% from 45 to 64, and 16.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.2 males.
Enroll in the Right Physical Therapy Degree Program near Sterling CO
Selecting the right physical therapist program is a necessary initial decision you have to make to launch a rewarding career in the health care profession. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you enroll in should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. However there are other relevant questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapy college, keep in mind that numerous factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might want to go to each of the schools to view their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me realize my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the right selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Sterling CO.
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