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

How to Select a Physical Therapy College near Kalama 98625

Kalama WA physical therapy school student with volunteerEarning a physical therapy degree near Kalama WA is an essential first step to launching a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled as a result of illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the necessary education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, many 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 investigate those you are looking at to make sure they will supply a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be evaluated besides location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.

What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?

Kalama WA physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists practice in diverse settings, including Kalama WA hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Head injuries.
  • Heart attacks.
  • Sports injuries.
  • Fire injuries.
  • Knee Replacement.
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Cerebral Palsy.

Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Kalama WA medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees Available

Kalama WA physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are 3 physical therapist degrees available for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are brief explanations of degree levels that are available in the Kalama WA area:

  • Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually provided by community or junior colleges, and require two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a component of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy training to prepare students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically take four years to finish and usually include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program must also 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 overall investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an important component in addition to the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not just for graduation but in a number of 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 eliminated and is no longer attainable in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapy Online Colleges

woman attending physical therapy school online in Kalama WAAlthough not as prevalent as the more traditional options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy programs available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online part of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Kalama WA residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition can be significantly less than comparable on-campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.

What to Ask Physical Therapist Schools

By now you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning a few of your initial queries, including the type of physical therapist degree you intend to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Kalama WA area and throughout Washington, you’ll have to look into other qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of college options. Also, you want to make sure that you enroll in the college that is best for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited?  Ask if the programs you are considering have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As earlier stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online school, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated 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 college and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with some Kalama WA physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your school selections. It may also be prudent to contact the Washington Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.

What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapist programs you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Kalama WA area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps excellent. It also verifies that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students get internships or employment after graduation.

Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you enroll in furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Washington or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist colleges you are interested in have partnerships with Kalama WA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Kalama healthcare community and help with job placement after licensing.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.

Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Kalama WA residence. Those who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind 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 often charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.

Is Financial Support Provided? The majority of DPT colleges provide some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid office and find out what type of aid is offered. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid might be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapist school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Kalama WA area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Kalama Washington?

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

Kalama, Washington

Kalama is a city in Cowlitz County, Washington, United States. It is part of the Longview, Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 2,500, according to the Washington State Office of Financial Management.[3]

From James W. Phillips' Washington State Place Names states, "General J.W. Sprague of the Northern Pacific Railroad named the town in 1871 for the Indian word calama, meaning "pretty maiden."[4] There is an additional story: Gabriel Franchere in 1811 wrote of the Indian village at the mouth of the Kalama River, adding that it was called Thlakalamah (this story predates all of the others).[5]

Kalama was first settled by Native Americans, particularly members of the Cowlitz Indian Tribes. The first white settler recorded was in 1853. That first settler was Ezra Meeker and his family. Only one year later, Meeker moved to north Puyallup, Washington, but he sold his Donation Land Claim to a Mr. Davenport, who, with a few others, permanently settled in the Kalama area. In early 1870, Northern Pacific Railway scouts came to Cowlitz County to find an ideal terminus along the Columbia River. After a failed negotiation for a Donation Land Claim in Martin’s Bluff, four miles south of Kalama, Northern Pacific officials purchased 700 acres in Kalama for the terminus of the new railroad as well as a new headquarters. The population swelled with employees of the Northern Pacific Railway.[6]

Select the Best Physical Therapy School near Kalama WA

Selecting the best physical therapist college is a necessary initial decision you need to make to start a gratifying career in the medical profession. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you select should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. But there are additional important questions that you need to ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapy program, bear in mind that a number of variables will guide you to your ultimate decision. You might decide to go to each of the schools to see their facilities and speak with active 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 following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the ideal choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Kalama WA.

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