Category Archives: Iowa

Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – Waterloo IA

How to Find the Right Physical Therapy Training Program near Waterloo 50701

Waterloo IA physical therapy school student with volunteerReceiving a physical therapy degree near Waterloo IA is an essential first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled due to illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to evaluate the ones you are considering to make certain they will supply a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is select a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home 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 address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.

What Does a Physical Therapist Do?

Waterloo IA physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists practice in a variety of locations, such as Waterloo IA hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Strokes.
  • Heart attacks.
  • Sports injuries.
  • Burn injuries.
  • Hip Replacement.
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Cerebral Palsy.

Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Waterloo IA medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees

Waterloo IA physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are three physical therapy degrees available for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are brief explanations of degree levels that are offered in the Waterloo IA area:

  • Associate Degrees educate 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 GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically provided by community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually part of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist education to ready students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take 4 years to finish and commonly 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 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 overall commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an important element in addition to the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, 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 phased out and is no longer available in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapist Schools Online

woman attending physical therapy school online in Waterloo IAAlthough not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy programs available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online part of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Waterloo IA home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition may be somewhat lower than similar on campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.

What to Ask Physical Therapist Schools

By now you most likely have made a decision regarding several of your preliminary queries, such as the type of physical therapist degree you would like to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Waterloo IA area and throughout Iowa, you’ll have to research other qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Also, you need to be sure that you select the program that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are considering. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions prior to making a final decision.

Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited?  Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier stated, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online school, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the School’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT program’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Call some Waterloo IA physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your college selections. It might also be prudent to contact the Iowa 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 significant statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist colleges you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Waterloo IA area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even excellent. It also affirms that the college has a large network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment after graduation.

Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you select provides both superior training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria for Iowa or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapy colleges you are evaluating have associations with Waterloo IA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to receive practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Waterloo healthcare community and help with job placement after licensing.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.

Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Waterloo IA residence. 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. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.

Is Financial Help Offered? The majority of DPT colleges provide some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have a financial aid department and see what kind of assistance is available. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance might be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist school you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Waterloo IA area, check that they are offered. 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 have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Waterloo Iowa?

If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Waterloo IA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.

Waterloo, Iowa

Waterloo is a city in and the county seat of Black Hawk County, Iowa, United States.[4] As of the 2010 United States Census the population decreased by 0.5% to 68,406;[5] the 2016 Census estimates the population at 67,934, making it the sixth-largest city in the state.[3] The city is part of the Waterloo – Cedar Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area, and is the more populous of the two cities.

Waterloo was originally known as Prairie Rapids Crossing.[6] The town was established near two Meskwaki American tribal seasonal camps alongside the Cedar River. It was first settled in 1845 when George and Mary Melrose Hanna and their children arrived on the east bank of the Red Cedar River (now just called the Cedar River). They were followed by the Virden and Mullan families in 1846. Evidence of these earliest families can still be found in the street names Hanna Boulevard, Mullan Avenue and Virden Creek.

The name Waterloo supplanted the original name, Prairie Rapids Crossing, shortly after Charles Mullan petitioned for a post office in the town. Since the signed petition did not include the name of the proposed post office location, Mullan was charged with selecting the name when he submitted the petition. Tradition has it that as he flipped through a list of other post offices in the United States, he came upon the name Waterloo. The name struck his fancy, and on December 29, 1851, a post office was established under that name. The town was later called the same, and Mullan served as the first postmaster from December 29, 1851 until August 11, 1854.

Pick the Ideal Physical Therapy Degree Program near Waterloo IA

Choosing the best physical therapist program is a necessary first decision you must make to begin a gratifying career in the medical profession. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you pick should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. But there are additional critical questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist college, keep in mind that many factors will lead you toward your final decision. You might want to visit each of the campuses to see their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Waterloo IA.

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