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Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – Youngstown OH

How to Enroll In a Physical Therapy Program near Youngstown 44501

Youngstown OH physical therapy school student with volunteerEarning a physical therapist degree near Youngstown OH is an essential first step to beginning a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated due to illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the necessary education and training. A PT must also become licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research those you are thinking about to ensure they will deliver 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 closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be evaluated along with cost and location. But before we talk about 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 Does a Physical Therapist Do?

Youngstown OH physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists work in varying settings, including Youngstown OH private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. 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 individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Strokes.
  • Cardiac arrest.
  • Sports injuries.
  • Fire injuries.
  • Hip Replacement.
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Cerebral Palsy.

Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Youngstown OH health 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 take note of for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees

Youngstown OH physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are 3 physical therapist degree options offered for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief explanations of degrees that are available in the Youngstown OH 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 qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically provided by junior or community colleges, and take about two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a portion of the program.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist education to prepare students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to becoming a PT. Similar to 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 required 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 finish, making the total investment of time 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential component along with the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in several states for licensing as well.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer available in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapy Online Colleges

woman attending physical therapy school online in Youngstown OHWhile not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs available, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the school campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the curriculum can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Youngstown OH residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat less than comparable on-campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.

Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges

At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding some of your initial questions, like 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 since there are numerous PT schools within the Youngstown OH area and throughout Ohio, you’ll need to look into other qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of school options. Furthermore, you want to make sure that you enroll in the program that is ideal for you. That’s why we have put together a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited?  Find out if the schools you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. 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 enroll in an online school, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapist school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides ensuring 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 School’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist community. 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 may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with some Youngstown OH physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your college options. It might also be prudent to contact the Ohio Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.

What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapy schools you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students dropped out 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 help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Youngstown OH 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 exceptional. It also affirms that the college has a large network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you choose furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria for Ohio or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the physical therapist schools you are assessing have relationships with Youngstown OH clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Youngstown health care community and assist with job placement after licensing.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.

Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Youngstown OH residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to consider 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 typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? The majority of DPT colleges supply some form of financial support to their prospective students. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department and see what kind of assistance is available. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance may be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapy college you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Youngstown OH area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Youngstown Ohio?

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

Youngstown, Ohio

Youngstown is a city in and the county seat of Mahoning County in the U.S. state of Ohio, with small portions extending into Trumbull County. According to the 2010 Census, Youngstown had a city proper population of 66,982, while the Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA Metropolitan Statistical Area it anchors contained 565,773 people in Mahoning and Trumbull counties in Ohio, and Mercer County in Pennsylvania.

Youngstown is located on the Mahoning River, approximately 65 miles (105 km) southeast of Cleveland and 61 miles (100 km) northwest of Pittsburgh. Despite having its own media market, Youngstown is often included in commercial and cultural depictions of both Northeast Ohio as well as the Greater Pittsburgh Region due to these proximities. Youngstown is also the midway between New York City and Chicago via Interstate 80.

The city was named for John Young, an early settler from Whitestown, New York, who established the community's first sawmill and gristmill. Youngstown is in a region of America that is often referred to as the Rust Belt. Traditionally known as a center of steel production, Youngstown was forced to redefine itself when the U.S. steel industry fell into decline in the 1970s, leaving communities throughout the region without major industry. The city has experienced a decline of over 60% of its population since 1959. Youngstown also falls within the Appalachian Ohio region, among the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.

Enroll in the Right Physical Therapy School near Youngstown OH

Picking the ideal physical therapy college is an important first decision you have to make to start a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you select should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are additional important questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapist school, bear in mind that many variables will guide you to your final decision. You might want to visit different schools to see 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 additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the ideal choice. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Youngstown OH.

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