How to Choose a Physical Therapist School near Wheaton 56296
Obtaining a physical therapy degree near Wheaton MN is an important first step to beginning a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled as a result of illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the necessary 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 college. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to investigate those you are looking at to make certain they will furnish a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is enroll in a college just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be evaluated along with cost and location. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of settings, such as Wheaton MN private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier 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 create a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Wheaton MN medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also manage several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Offered
There are three physical therapist degrees offered for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degrees that are available in the Wheaton MN area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are most often provided by community colleges, and take about two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training to prepare students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they generally take four years to finish and often incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to finish, making the overall commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential component along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in several 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 available in the USA. A number of practicing physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Colleges Online
Although not as prevalent as the more traditional options, there are some accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Wheaton MN residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat lower than similar on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
By now you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning some of your preliminary queries, including the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Wheaton MN area and across Minnesota, you’ll have to research additional qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Also, you want to make sure that you enroll in the college that is best for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Find out if the programs you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier mentioned, 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 school, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several ways you can research a PT college’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call several Wheaton MN physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your school selections. It may also be a good idea to check with the Minnesota Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of useful statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students left due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Wheaton MN area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care field is good or even excellent. It also verifies that the school has a broad network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you choose furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for Minnesota 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 school. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the physical therapy programs you are assessing have associations with Wheaton MN clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Wheaton medical community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Wheaton MN home. Those 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 consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? The majority of DPT schools offer some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial aid office and see what kind of help is offered. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapist school you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Wheaton MN area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Wheaton Minnesota?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Wheaton MN area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
A post office called Wheaton has been in operation since 1884. Wheaton was designated county seat in 1886. The city was named for Daniel Thompson Wheaton, a railroad surveyor. One property in the city is listed on the National Register of Historic Places: the Wheaton Depot built circa 1906.
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,424 people, 655 households, and 370 families residing in the city. The population density was 791.1 inhabitants per square mile (305.4/km2). There were 834 housing units at an average density of 463.3 per square mile (178.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.4% White, 0.6% African American, 0.7% Native American, 0.1% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.2% from other races, and 1.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.5% of the population.
There were 655 households of which 21.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.4% were married couples living together, 6.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 2.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 43.5% were non-families. 39.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 24% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.08 and the average family size was 2.79.
Pick the Best Physical Therapist School near Wheaton MN
Choosing the right physical therapy school is an important initial decision you have to make to begin a fulfilling career in the healthcare profession. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you pick should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are other relevant questions that you should ask regarding your college of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapy school, keep in mind that numerous variables will guide you toward your final decision. You might want to go to each of the schools to view their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the best selection. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Wheaton MN.
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