How to Find the Right Physical Therapy Program near West Columbia 29169
Receiving a physical therapist degree near West Columbia SC is a critical first step to starting a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated due to injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the proper training and education. A PT must also become licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research those you are considering to make sure they will furnish a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be evaluated besides cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists work in diverse settings, such as West Columbia SC private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other West Columbia SC health specialists, 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. One thing to bear in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are three physical therapy degree options offered for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degrees that are available in the West Columbia SC area:
- Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically provided by junior or community colleges, and require 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a portion of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to prep students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take four years to complete and commonly include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want 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 three years to complete, making the overall investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an important component along with the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in a number of 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 eliminated and is no longer attainable in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Schools
While not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, even more 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 near the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online portion of the program may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s West Columbia SC residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition might be significantly lower than similar on-campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
At this point you probably have made a decision regarding several of your preliminary queries, such as the type of physical therapy degree you want to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the West Columbia SC area and across South Carolina, you’ll need to research additional qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of school choices. Moreover, you need to be sure that you pick the college that is best for you. That’s why we have put together a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously stated, 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 college, it can also receive 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. Also, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact several West Columbia SC physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your college options. It may also be a good idea to contact the South Carolina Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the West Columbia SC area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also affirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the program you enroll in provides both excellent training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria for South Carolina or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapist programs you are assessing have relationships with West Columbia SC hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the West Columbia healthcare community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their West Columbia SC home. Students who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? Most DPT colleges offer some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at have a financial aid department and see what type of aid is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. Some physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapist program you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the West Columbia SC area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near West Columbia South Carolina?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the West Columbia SC area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
West Columbia, South Carolina
West Columbia is a city and commuter town in the suburban eastern sections of Lexington County, South Carolina, United States. According to the 2010 census, the population was 14,988. It is a part of the greater Columbia, SC metropolitan statistical area.
West Columbia lies west of Columbia, South Carolina, directly across the Congaree River. It is near Columbia's city center or downtown district as well as the South Carolina State House and the Congaree Vista, known locally as "the Vista."
West Columbia was incorporated in 1894 as Brookland, but the United States Postal Service called the town "New Brookland" since there was another town called Brookland. In 1936, the name was changed to West Columbia to emphasize its proximity to Columbia, South Carolina. Numerous businesses, churches and a high school retain the Brookland and New Brookland names.
Enroll in the Best Physical Therapist Training Program near West Columbia SC
Picking the best physical therapy college is an important initial decision you need to make to start a rewarding career in the medical field. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you enroll in should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are other relevant questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapy college, keep in mind that numerous factors will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You may decide to visit different colleges to view their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me realize my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the proper training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in West Columbia SC.
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