How to Pick a Physical Therapist School near Wilmington 19801
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Wilmington DE is an essential first step to starting a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled as a result of injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the appropriate training and education. A PT must also become licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate the ones you are considering to ensure they will provide a superior education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is choose a college just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be evaluated along with cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in diverse settings, such as Wilmington DE hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also strive to stop any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Wilmington DE medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
There are 3 physical therapist degrees offered for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short descriptions of degrees that are available in the Wilmington DE area:
- Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often offered by community colleges, and require two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy education to prep students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they generally take four years to finish and usually incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement in order to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program also must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to finish, making the overall investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical training is an intregal element in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in a number of states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has taken the place of the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer attainable in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Programs
Although not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy programs available, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online portion of the curriculum can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Wilmington DE home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition may be significantly less than similar on campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
At this point you probably have made a decision regarding some of your initial questions, like the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Wilmington DE area and throughout Delaware, you’ll need to research other qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Also, you need to make sure that you choose the program that is right for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Find out if the schools you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you enroll in an online school, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact some Wilmington DE physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your program options. It may also be prudent to contact the Delaware Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapy programs you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students left due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Wilmington DE area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also verifies that the college has a wide network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you enroll in furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for Delaware or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapist colleges you are interested in have partnerships with Wilmington DE clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Wilmington health care community and help with job placement once licensed.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Wilmington DE residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Most DPT colleges supply some form of financial support to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid office and find out what type of assistance is available. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapy college you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Wilmington DE area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Wilmington Delaware?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Wilmington DE area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Wilmington (Lenape: Paxahakink, Pakehakink) is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Delaware. The city was built on the site of Fort Christina, the first Swedish settlement in North America. It is at the confluence of the Christina River and Brandywine River, near where the Christina flows into the Delaware River. It is the county seat of New Castle County and one of the major cities in the Delaware Valley metropolitan area. Wilmington was named by Proprietor Thomas Penn after his friend Spencer Compton, Earl of Wilmington, who was prime minister in the reign of George II of Great Britain.
As of the 2017 United States Census estimate, the city's population is 72,846. It is the fifth least populous city in the U.S. to be the most populous in its state. The Wilmington Metropolitan Division, comprising New Castle County, DE, Cecil County, MD and Salem County, NJ, had an estimated 2016 population of 719,876. The Delaware Valley metropolitan area, which includes the cities of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Camden, New Jersey, had a 2016 population of 6,070,500, and a combined statistical area of 7,179,357.
The area now known as Wilmington was settled by the Lenape (or Delaware Indian) band led by Sachem (Chief) Mattahorn just before Henry Hudson sailed up the Len-api Hanna ("People Like Me River", present Delaware River) in 1609. The area was called "Maax-waas Unk" or "Bear Place" after the Maax-waas Hanna (Bear River) that flowed by (present Christina River). It was called the Bear River because it flowed west to the "Bear People", who are now known as the People of Conestoga or the Susquehannocks.
Select the Ideal Physical Therapy Degree Program near Wilmington DE
Selecting the ideal physical therapist college is a necessary initial decision you must make to start a rewarding career in the healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you select should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are other critical questions that you need to ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapy school, keep in mind that numerous variables will guide you to your final decision. You might decide to go to different schools to view their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me achieve 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 options so you can make the right selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Wilmington DE.
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