How to Choose a Physical Therapist College near Westminster 01473
Getting a physical therapy degree near Westminster MA is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled as a result of illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the proper training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee receive 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 thinking about to make sure they will provide a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be evaluated besides location and cost. But before we talk about 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 practice in varying locations, including Westminster MA private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to address the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also strive to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Westminster MA medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone considering entering the physical therapy field, it is rather 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 Available
There are 3 physical therapy degree options available for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training 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 Westminster MA area:
- Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically made available by community colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a portion of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy training to ready students to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible 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 four years to finish and commonly incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required 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 three years to complete, making the overall investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical training is an important element in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Therefor 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 existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Degrees Online
While not as prevalent as the more traditional options, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees available, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Westminster MA residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition can be somewhat lower than comparable on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
By now you probably have made a decision regarding a few of your initial queries, like the type of physical therapy degree you intend to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the Westminster MA area and throughout Massachusetts, you’ll have to explore other qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Also, you want to be sure that you enroll in the school that is right for you. That’s why we have put together a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are considering have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. 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 program, it can also receive 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 simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with a few Westminster MA physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your school options. It may also be a good idea to contact the Massachusetts Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist colleges you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might mean that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Westminster MA area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or even outstanding. It also confirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the school you enroll in provides both excellent training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria for Massachusetts or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing have partnerships with Westminster MA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Westminster medical community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Westminster MA home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to bear 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 may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? The majority of DPT schools provide some form of financial aid to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial aid office and find out what kind of assistance is offered. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapy college you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Westminster MA area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Westminster Massachusetts?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Westminster MA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
The town achieved national news in November 2014 when the Board of Health proposed banning all sales of tobacco. The meeting between the Board of Health and concerned citizens did not go well with citizens raising objections to the governmental over-reach.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 37.3 square miles (97 km2), of which 35.5 square miles (92 km2) is land and 1.8 square miles (4.7 km2), or 4.90%, is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 6,907 people, 2,529 households, and 1,954 families residing in the town. The population density was 194.5 people per square mile (75.1/km²). There were 2,694 housing units at an average density of 75.9 per square mile (29.3/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.50% White, 0.46% African American, 0.14% Native American, 1.14% Asian, 0.14% from other races, and 0.61% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.11% of the population. 17.6% were of French, 15.0% Irish, 13.2% French Canadian, 9.0% English, 9.0% Italian, 8.5% Finnish and 5.6% American ancestry according to Census 2000.
Select the Best Physical Therapy Training Program near Westminster MA
Selecting the best physical therapy program is a necessary first decision you need 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 be accredited. However there are additional important questions that you need to ask regarding your school of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist college, bear in mind that many variables will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You may want to go to each of the schools to view their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me realize 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 proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Westminster MA.
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