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

How to Select a Physical Therapy School near Elma 98541

Elma WA physical therapy school student with volunteerEarning a physical therapist degree near Elma WA is an important first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled as a result of illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the necessary education and training. A PT must also become licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to investigate those you are considering to make sure they will furnish a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is enroll in a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be considered along with 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 what the educational options are.

What is a Physical Therapist?

Elma WA physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists practice in diverse locations, including Elma WA hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a course of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also strive to stop any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Head injuries.
  • Heart attacks.
  • Sports injuries.
  • Burn injuries.
  • Hip Replacement.
  • Sciatica.
  • Cerebral Palsy.

Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Elma WA medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees Offered

Elma WA physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are 3 physical therapist degrees available for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief explanations of degree levels that are available in the Elma WA area:

  • Associate Degrees educate students to become 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 qualify for enrollment. The programs are usually offered by community or junior colleges, and require two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a portion of the program.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy training to prepare students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take 4 years to complete and usually include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are mandated in order to become a practicing licensed physical therapist. The degree program must also be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to complete, making the overall investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an important component along with the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not just 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 phased out and is no longer available in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapy Online Schools

woman attending physical therapy school online in Elma WAAlthough not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist programs available, more so 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 requires that the student live near the school campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online part of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Elma WA residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition might be significantly less than similar on campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Schools

By now you probably have come to decision concerning several of your preliminary questions, like the kind of physical therapy degree you intend to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Elma WA area and throughout Washington, you’ll have to research other qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of school options. Moreover, you need to make sure that you enroll in the program that is right for you. That’s why we have put together a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited?  Find out if the colleges you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier stated, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online college, it may 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 just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact several Elma WA physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your program options. It may also be prudent to contact 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 couple of important statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapy programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students left because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Elma WA area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also verifies that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment after graduation.

Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you choose provides both superior training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for Washington or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are assessing have associations with Elma WA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Elma medical community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.

Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Elma WA residence. Students who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble 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 choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even 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 often charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.

Is Financial Aid Provided? The majority of DPT schools supply some form of financial support to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance department and find out what kind of aid is obtainable. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. Some physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance may be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapist school you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Elma WA area, make sure that they are available. 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 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 obligations.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Elma Washington?

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

Elma, Washington

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 3,107 people, 1,209 households, and 788 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,643.9 inhabitants per square mile (634.7/km2). There were 1,307 housing units at an average density of 691.5 per square mile (267.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 85.8% White, 1.0% African American, 2.6% Native American, 2.1% Asian, 0.4% Pacific Islander, 3.2% from other races, and 4.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.6% of the population.

There were 1,209 households of which 34.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.8% were married couples living together, 16.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 34.8% were non-families. 27.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.02.

The median age in the city was 36.1 years. 25.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.4% were from 25 to 44; 26.6% were from 45 to 64; and 12.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.1% male and 50.9% female.

Pick the Ideal Physical Therapist College near Elma WA

Choosing the ideal physical therapist college is an important first decision you must make to launch a fulfilling career in the healthcare profession. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you decide on should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are other critical questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapy college, bear in mind that a number of factors will guide you to your final decision. You might want to go to each of the campuses to see their facilities and speak with 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 supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the ideal choice. And with the proper education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Elma WA.

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