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

How to Find the Right Physical Therapist School near Kelso 98626

Kelso WA physical therapy school student with volunteerGetting a physical therapist degree near Kelso WA is a critical first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated due to injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to investigate the ones you are considering to ensure they will furnish a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is choose a college just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be considered along with cost and location. 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?

Kelso WA physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists practice in diverse locations, such as Kelso WA hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they create a program of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Strokes.
  • Cardiac arrest.
  • Sports injuries.
  • Fire injuries.
  • Knee Replacement.
  • Sciatica.
  • Multiple Sclerosis.

Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Kelso WA medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is rather 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

Kelso WA physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are three physical therapy degrees offered for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is attainable to become 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 brief descriptions of degrees that are offered in the Kelso WA area:

  • Associate Degrees educate students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are typically made available by junior or community colleges, and take about two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally part of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist education to ready candidates to advance 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. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically require four years to complete and often incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are required in order to become a licensed practicing 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 3 years to finish, making the overall commitment seven years in most cases. Clinical training is an intregal element in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in a number of states for licensing also.

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 United States. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapy Programs Online

woman attending physical therapy school online in Kelso WAAlthough not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online portion of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Kelso WA residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat lower than similar on-campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Schools

By now you probably have come to decision concerning several of your preliminary queries, including the kind of physical therapist degree you want to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Kelso WA area and across Washington, you’ll have to explore other qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of college options. Furthermore, you need to be sure that you select the program that is right for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are considering. Ask all of the competing schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited?  Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national 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 college, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the College’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, starting 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 agencies for their reviews also. Contact several Kelso WA physical therapy clinics or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your school options. It may also be a good idea to check with the Washington Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.

What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students left 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 assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Kelso WA area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or even excellent. It also affirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to help students get internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you enroll in furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements for Washington or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are assessing have relationships with Kelso WA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to receive practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Kelso medical community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. 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 converse with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program also.

Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Kelso WA residence. 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 area 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 perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Most DPT colleges offer some form of financial support to their potential students. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have a financial aid department and see what kind of assistance is offered. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. Some physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance might be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapy school you finally pick can furnish 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 Kelso WA area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Kelso Washington?

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

Kelso, Washington

Kelso is a city in the southwestern part of the U.S. state of Washington and is the county seat of Cowlitz County.[5] At the 2010 census, the population was 11,925. Kelso is part of the Longview, Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area, which has a population of 102,410. Kelso shares its long western border with Longview. It is near Mount St. Helens.

The earliest known inhabitants of Kelso were Native Americans from the Cowlitz tribe. The Cowlitz people were separated into the Upper (or Taidnapam) and Lower (or Mountain) Cowlitz tribes, who were members of the Sahaptin and Salish language families, respectively. In 1855, European explorers noted that there numbered over 6000 individuals of the Cowlitz Tribe.

Kelso was founded by Peter W. Crawford, a Scottish surveyor, who, in 1847, took up the first donation land claim on the Lower Cowlitz River. Crawford platted a townsite which he named after his home town of Kelso, Scotland. The original plat was dated and filed in October 1884.[6] It became incorporated in 1889.

Choose the Ideal Physical Therapist College near Kelso WA

Choosing the best physical therapist college is a necessary initial decision you must make to start a gratifying career in the healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you select should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are other relevant questions that you should ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapist school, keep in mind that a number of factors will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You might want to visit each of the campuses to see their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me reach my goal of becoming a practicing licensed 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 selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Kelso WA.

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