How to Choose a Physical Therapist Degree Program near Savage 59262
Getting a physical therapist degree near Savage MT is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated due to injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with 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 receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research those you are considering to ensure they will supply a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is select a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the most affordable 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 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?
Physical therapists work in diverse settings, including Savage MT hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Savage MT medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to keep 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 kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Offered
There are 3 physical therapy degrees available for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief summaries of degrees that are available in the Savage MT area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or can 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 usually provided by junior or community colleges, and take about two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a portion of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy education to prepare students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they normally require four years to complete and usually include 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). 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 element along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in some states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer attainable in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Degrees Online
Although not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy programs available, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the curriculum can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Savage MT home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition might be significantly lower than similar on-campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
By now you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding several of your preliminary queries, such as the type of physical therapist degree you intend to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the Savage MT area and throughout Montana, you’ll need to explore additional qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of school options. Also, you need to be sure that you choose the program that is right for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Ask if the schools you are considering have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As earlier mentioned, 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 school, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Ranking? Along with 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 college’s reputation, starting 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 also. Call some Savage MT physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your school options. It may also be a good idea to contact the Montana Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist colleges you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Savage MT area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even outstanding. It also verifies that the school has a large network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you choose furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Montana or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the physical therapy schools you are interested in have relationships with Savage MT clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Savage health care community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing what the typical 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 converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Savage MT home. Students who have decided 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. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? Most DPT schools supply some type of financial support to their prospective students. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance office and see what type of assistance is offered. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. Some physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapy college you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Savage MT area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Savage Montana?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Savage MT area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Pick the Best Physical Therapist School near Savage MT
Picking the ideal physical therapy college is a necessary first decision you have to make to begin a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you select should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. However there are other important questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapist college, keep in mind that numerous factors will guide you toward your final decision. You might decide to visit different colleges to see their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me reach 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 right choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Savage MT.
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