How to Select a Physical Therapist School near Wildwood 34785
Getting a physical therapy degree near Wildwood FL is a critical first step to launching a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated 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 obtain the appropriate education and training. A PT must also be licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research the ones you are considering to ensure they will deliver a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is select a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be considered along with location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists work in varying settings, such as Wildwood FL private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to address the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also strive to prevent any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Wildwood FL medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating 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 long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Offered
There are three physical therapist degree options available for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the single 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 preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degree levels that are available in the Wildwood FL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually provided by community or junior colleges, and require 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a portion of the curriculum.
- 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 qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they generally require 4 years to complete and often include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required in order 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 3 years to complete, making the overall commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an important component along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in several states for licensing as well.
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 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 current licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Schools Online
Although not as common as the more traditional options, there are many accredited online physical therapist programs available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the program may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Wildwood FL residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat less than similar on campus options, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning some of your initial queries, like the kind of physical therapist degree you intend to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the Wildwood FL area and throughout Florida, you’ll have to research other qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of school options. Also, you want to make certain that you choose the program that is right for you. That’s why we have collected a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are considering. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Find out if the schools you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As earlier stated, 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 college, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might 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 imperative that the college and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Get in touch with a few Wildwood FL physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your program selections. It might also be a good idea to check with the Florida 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 Percentage? There are a two relevant statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapy colleges you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Wildwood FL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also verifies that the program has a large network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the school you choose furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Florida 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. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapist programs you are evaluating have relationships with Wildwood FL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Wildwood healthcare community and assist with job placement after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? 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 prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Wildwood FL residence. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to consider 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 generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Support Offered? Most DPT schools provide some type of financial support to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance office and find out what type of aid is obtainable. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist program 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 evening or weekend classes in the Wildwood FL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Wildwood Florida?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Wildwood FL 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 3,924 people, 1,640 households, and 1,074 families residing in the city. The population density was 759.7 inhabitants per square mile (293.0/km2). There were 2,062 housing units at an average density of 399.2 per square mile (154.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 64.76% White, 32.93% African American, 0.13% Native American, 0.13% Asian, 0.97% from other races, and 1.10% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.42% of the population.
There were 1,640 households out of which 23.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.6% were married couples living together, 17.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.5% were non-families. 30.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 20.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.81.
In the city the population was spread out with 22.3% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 18.4% from 25 to 44, 19.0% from 45 to 64, and 33.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 48 years. For every 100 females, there were 83.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.2 males.
Pick the Right Physical Therapy Degree Program near Wildwood FL
Selecting the best physical therapy school is an important initial decision you have to make to begin a rewarding career in the medical profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you choose should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are other relevant questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapy school, keep in mind that numerous factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You may decide to go to different campuses to see their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed 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 ideal selection. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Wildwood FL.
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