Category Archives: Massachusetts

Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – Westport MA

How to Enroll In a Physical Therapy Program near Westport 02790

Westport MA physical therapy school student with volunteerGetting a physical therapist degree near Westport MA is an important first step to starting a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled as a result of 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 training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to investigate those you are thinking about to make sure they will furnish a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is choose a school just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be evaluated besides location and cost. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.

What Do Physical Therapists Do?

Westport MA physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists work in a variety of locations, such as Westport MA hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Head injuries.
  • Heart attacks.
  • Sports injuries.
  • Fire injuries.
  • Knee Replacement.
  • Sciatica.
  • Multiple Sclerosis.

Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Westport MA health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees Available

Westport MA physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are three physical therapist degrees offered for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is offered to practice as 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. Below are brief descriptions of degree levels that are available in the Westport MA area:

  • Associate Degrees educate students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are typically offered by junior or community colleges, and require two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a component of the program.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to ready candidates to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they normally require 4 years to finish and often incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want 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 finish, making the total investment of time seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal component along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not only 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 phased out and is no longer attainable in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapy Online Degrees

woman attending physical therapy school online in Westport MAWhile not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online portion of the curriculum can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Westport MA home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat less than similar on-campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.

Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Schools

At this point you most likely have come to decision concerning some of your preliminary queries, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you want to obtain, where you want 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 Westport MA area and across Massachusetts, you’ll need to research other qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school options. Moreover, you need to make sure that you choose the college that is best for you. That’s why we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited?  Ask 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 select an online program, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can look into 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 agencies for their reviews as well. Call several Westport MA physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your college options. It may also be prudent to contact the Massachusetts Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.

What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two relevant statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy colleges you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After 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 Westport MA area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also confirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to help students get internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the program you select provides both superior training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Massachusetts 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 therapy school. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are interested in have partnerships with Westport MA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to receive practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Westport medical community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far 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 looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.

Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Westport MA residence. Students who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college 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 commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Most DPT colleges supply some form of financial aid to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department and find out what type of help is available. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance may be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapy program you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Westport MA area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Westport Massachusetts?

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

Westport, Massachusetts

The village of North Westport lies in the town. Other named areas of the town are "Westport Point" with the dock on the Westport River where Main Road meets the river, "Central Village" with town offices, retail stores and businesses, "Head of Westport" at the head of the east branch of the river and the area referred to either as "Acoaxet" or "Westport Harbor," which is between the west branch of the river and Rhode Island. This area is actually cut off from the rest of Massachusetts by water and Rhode Island.

Westport, so named because it was the westernmost port in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, was first settled in 1670 as a part of the town of Dartmouth by members of the Sisson family. The river, and the land around it, was called "Coaksett" in the original deed; the name, now spelled "Acoaxet," lives on in the southwestern community along the western branch of the Westport River. Like many areas in the region, Westport was affected by King Philip's War, when the native Wampanoag population rebelled against the oppression of the English settlers. Several small mills were built along the Westport River, and in 1787, the town, along with the town of New Bedford, seceded from Dartmouth.

During the late 18th century, into the early 19th century, a Quaker businessman, sea captain, patriot, and abolitionist named Paul Cuffee and his wife settled in the town, on the banks of the Westport River where he launched a shipyard. Cuffee became one of the richest free blacks in the United States at the time, and helped the effort to try to emigrate black slaves to Sierra Leone in Africa.

Choose the Ideal Physical Therapy Training Program near Westport MA

Deciding on the ideal physical therapist college is an important first decision you must make to begin a fulfilling career in the health care profession. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you choose should both have exceptional 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 therapy program, keep in mind that many variables will guide you to your final decision. You may want to go to each of the schools to see their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me achieve my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental 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 Westport MA.

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