Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – Belfair WA

How to Choose a Physical Therapy School near Belfair 98528

Belfair WA physical therapy school student with volunteerObtaining a physical therapist degree near Belfair WA is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated as a result of injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to research those you are considering to make sure they will deliver a superior education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is choose a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be evaluated along with location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.

What is a Physical Therapist?

Belfair WA physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists work in diverse settings, including Belfair WA private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also strive to stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:

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

Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Belfair WA health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone considering entering the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees Available

Belfair WA physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are three physical therapist degrees available for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the one degree that is attainable to practice as 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. Following are short descriptions of degree levels that are offered in the Belfair WA area:

  • Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically provided by community colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally part of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to prep students to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they typically require 4 years to finish and commonly include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are mandated 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 complete, making the overall commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential element in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not solely 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 phased out and is no longer offered 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

woman attending physical therapy school online in Belfair WAAlthough not as common as the on campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature 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 in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Belfair WA home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition might be somewhat lower than comparable on campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges

By now you most likely have made a decision concerning several of your initial queries, like the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Belfair WA area and throughout Washington, you’ll need to look into other qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Also, you want to make sure that you choose the college that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy colleges you are thinking about. Ask each of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited?  Ask if the schools you are reviewing have earned 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 enroll in an online program, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the Program’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can research a PT college’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with a few Belfair WA physical therapist centers or other medical care 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 prudent to check with the Washington Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two significant statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students left due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Belfair WA area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or even outstanding. It also verifies that the program has a broad network of contacts to help students get internships or employment after graduation.

Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you select furnishes both superior training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Washington or the state where you will be practicing. 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 college. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapist schools you are evaluating have associations with Belfair WA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Belfair health care community and assist with job placement after licensing.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are researching 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 ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.

Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Belfair WA residence. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally 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 Aid Offered? Most DPT schools supply some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are looking at have a financial assistance department and find out what type of assistance is offered. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid might be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapy college you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Belfair WA area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Belfair Washington?

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

Belfair, Washington

Belfair is a census-designated place in Mason County, Washington, United States. Located on the Union River, headwaters of the Hood Canal, a branch of Puget Sound, it serves as the commercial center of North Mason County. The population of the surrounding area swells in the summertime as tourists and nature lovers flock to the Canal and the Olympic Peninsula. The population was 3,931 at the 2010 census.

Belfair is the home of former U.S. Representative Norm Dicks. Belfair was also home to Noah Ashenhurst, formerly an English teacher at North Mason High School and award-winning author of the novel Comfort Food. Belfair is also the hometown of 6 Time AMA National Champion Jason Raines and the Illustrator of numerous children's books Daniel Lane.

Belfair was originally called Clifton, as were several other towns in the state. To avoid confusion, it was renamed in 1925 by Mrs. Murray, the postmaster, who submitted the name Belfair from a book that she was then reading.

Pick the Best Physical Therapy Degree Program near Belfair WA

Deciding on the right physical therapist school is a necessary first decision you need to make to start a fulfilling career in the medical field. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you enroll in should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are additional important questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapy program, bear in mind that numerous variables will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You might decide to go to each of the schools to see their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the best choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Belfair WA.

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