How to Select a Physical Therapy School near Wichita 67201
Receiving a physical therapy degree near Wichita KS is an important first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated due to injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the proper education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to investigate the ones you are thinking about to ensure they will furnish a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is enroll in a school just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be evaluated along with location and cost. 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 is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists work in varying settings, including Wichita KS private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Wichita KS health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone thinking about 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
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 available 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. Following are brief descriptions of degree levels that are available in the Wichita KS area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often offered by community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a portion of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to ready students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they normally require four years to complete and often include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated in order 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 complete, making the total commitment seven years in most cases. Clinical training is an important component along with the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in some 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 offered in the USA. A number of licensed 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 Therapist Online Schools
Although not as prevalent as the on-campus alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapist 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 necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the program may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Wichita KS residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition might be significantly less than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenses 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 dedicated enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
At this point you most likely have come to decision regarding a few of your initial questions, including the type of physical therapist degree you intend to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the Wichita KS area and across Kansas, you’ll have to explore additional qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Also, you need to make certain that you choose the program that is right for you. That’s why we have put together a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As previously 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 college, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Call some Wichita KS physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your program options. It may also be a good idea to check with the Kansas 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 couple of significant statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students left because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Wichita KS area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or even exceptional. It also affirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students get internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you select provides both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for Kansas or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the physical therapy schools you are reviewing have partnerships with Wichita KS hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Wichita health care community and help with job placement once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Wichita KS residence. Those who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Most DPT colleges supply some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and see what kind of help is offered. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. Some physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapist school you ultimately choose 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 evening or weekend classes in the Wichita KS area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Wichita Kansas?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Wichita KS area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Wichita (/ˈwɪtʃɪtɔː/ WITCH-i-taw) is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kansas. Located in south-central Kansas on the Arkansas River, it is the county seat of Sedgwick County and the principal city of the Wichita metropolitan area which had an estimated population of 644,610 in 2015. As of 2017, the city of Wichita had an estimated population of 391,586.
The city began as a trading post on the Chisholm Trail in the 1860s and was incorporated in 1870. It subsequently became a destination for cattle drives north from Texas to railroads, earning it the nickname "Cowtown". In the 1920s and '30s, businessmen and aeronautical engineers established aircraft manufacturing companies in Wichita, including Beechcraft, Cessna, and Stearman Aircraft. The city became a U.S. aircraft production hub and became known as "The Air Capital of the World".Textron Aviation, Learjet, Airbus, and Spirit AeroSystems continue to operate design and manufacturing facilities in Wichita, and the city remains a major center of the American aircraft industry. Wichita is also home to McConnell Air Force Base.
As an industrial hub, Wichita is a center of culture, media, and trade. It hosts several large museums, theaters, parks, and entertainment venues, notably Intrust Bank Arena. Wichita State University is the third-largest post-secondary institution in the state. Wichita is also home to the Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center and Kansas's largest airport, Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport.
Select the Right Physical Therapy School near Wichita KS
Choosing the best physical therapy college is an important initial decision you must make to begin a gratifying career in the healthcare profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you decide on should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are additional important questions that you need to ask regarding your college of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapy program, keep in mind that numerous variables will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You might want to visit each of the campuses to see their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the right selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can achieve your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Wichita KS.
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