How to Select a Physical Therapy Degree Program near Weston 33326
Getting a physical therapy degree near Weston FL is an important first step to starting a rewarding career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled due to injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to evaluate those you are considering to ensure they will deliver a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is select a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be evaluated in addition to location and cost. But before we discuss 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 Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of locations, such as Weston FL private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a program of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Weston FL health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Offered
There are 3 physical therapy degrees available for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are brief summaries of degrees that are available in the Weston FL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are usually provided by junior or community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a portion of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy education to ready candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they normally take four years to complete and often include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required in order to become a practicing licensed physical therapist. The degree program also must 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 total commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an important element along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not only 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 offered in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Degrees
While not as common as the on campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, even more 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 necessitates that the student live near the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Weston FL residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition might be significantly lower than similar on campus options, and costs for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
By now you most likely have made a decision concerning a few of your initial questions, like the type of physical therapy degree you intend to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Weston FL area and across Florida, you’ll have to explore additional qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of school options. Moreover, you need to make certain that you pick the college that is best for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Find out if the programs you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously stated, 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 can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can investigate a PT college’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Call a few Weston FL physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your school options. It might also be prudent to check with the Florida Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two significant statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapist programs you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Weston FL area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps excellent. It also confirms that the school has a large network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you enroll in furnishes both superior 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 needed 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, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are evaluating have relationships with Weston FL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Weston health care community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Weston FL home. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might 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 to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? The majority of DPT schools offer some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid office and find out what type of aid is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. Some physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapy school you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Weston FL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Weston Florida?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Weston FL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Weston is a master planned suburban community in Broward County, Florida, United States. Established as a city in 1996, much of the community was developed by Arvida/JMB Realty (known for developing Walt Disney World) and is located near the western developmental boundary of Broward County. It is the most western city in Broward County, and its entire west side is next to the Everglades. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 65,333. Weston is a principal city of the Miami metropolitan area, which was home to an estimated 6,012,331 people at the 2015 census.
In 2010, Money magazine ranked Weston 19th in America in the "Biggest Earners" category, with a median family income of $119,689. In 2006, it was ranked as the city with the largest job growth in Florida and 18th largest in the nation.BusinessWeek ranked Weston as one of the "best affordable suburbs" in the United States in November 2006.
Weston consistently ranks high annually in CNN Money magazine's "Biggest Earners" category. In 2008, Money magazine ranked Weston as the 73rd best place to live in America, making it the best place to live in the state of Florida. In 2012, Weston moved up eleven slots to the 62nd best place to live in America, once again topping the list in the state of Florida. It was recently named by Family Circle Magazine one of the Ten Best Towns for Families for 2015. In February 2018, the City of Weston was ranked #8 in the Top 100 Safest Cities in the U.S. by NeighborhoodScout.
Choose the Ideal Physical Therapy Degree Program near Weston FL
Choosing the right physical therapist school is a necessary first decision you must make to start a rewarding career in the medical field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you choose should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. But there are additional important questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist program, keep in mind that numerous variables will lead you to your final decision. You may want to go to each of the campuses to see their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me accomplish 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 ideal choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Weston FL.
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