Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – Lake Stevens WA

How to Find the Right Physical Therapy Degree Program near Lake Stevens 98258

Lake Stevens WA physical therapy school student with volunteerObtaining a physical therapist degree near Lake Stevens WA is an important first step to beginning a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled as a result of injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the appropriate training and education. A PT must also become licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to investigate the ones you are considering to make certain they will deliver a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated besides cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.

What Does a Physical Therapist Do?

Lake Stevens WA physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists work in varying locations, such as Lake Stevens WA private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they design a course of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also strive to stop any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Head injuries.
  • Cardiac arrest.
  • Sports injuries.
  • Burn injuries.
  • Knee Replacement.
  • Sciatica.
  • Multiple Sclerosis.

Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Lake Stevens WA health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degree Options

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

  • Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are most often made available by community colleges, and take about two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a portion of the course of study.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to prep students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they normally take 4 years to complete and often 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 training is an important element along with the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in some 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 available in the United States. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapy Programs Online

woman attending physical therapy school online in Lake Stevens WAAlthough not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the school campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Lake Stevens WA residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition may be significantly lower than comparable on-campus options, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.

Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges

By now you most likely have made a decision concerning a few of your initial questions, including the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Lake Stevens WA area and across Washington, you’ll need to look into other qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of school options. Moreover, you need to be sure that you choose the college that is ideal for you. That’s why we have put together a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national 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 school, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist school and program you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with some Lake Stevens WA physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your school selections. It might also be a good idea to check with the Washington Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.

What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two significant statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students left because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Lake Stevens WA area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or even exceptional. It also affirms that the college has a large network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you select provides both superior training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Washington or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the physical therapy colleges you are evaluating have relationships with Lake Stevens WA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Lake Stevens medical community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.

Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapist school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Lake Stevens WA residence. Students who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally 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 Help Provided? The majority of DPT colleges provide some type of financial aid to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department and find out what type of assistance is offered. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. Some physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance might be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapy school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Lake Stevens WA area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Lake Stevens Washington?

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

Lake Stevens, Washington

Lake Stevens is a city in Snohomish County, Washington, United States named after the lake that it is built around.[4] It is southeast of Marysville, north of the city of Snohomish, and east of Everett. The population was 31,679 as of 2016 according to United States Census Bureau estimates, with much of the growth due to annexation.

Believed to be named after Governor Isaac I. Stevens, the shores of Lake Stevens were first settled in 1886, on a 160-acre (0.65 km2) homestead along the east shore. By 1890 the first town in the area, "Ferry", was established. Its name was later changed to "Hartford", and it served as the main link from the famed Monte Cristo timber and mining resources to the world.

In 1905 a railroad spur was built by the Rucker Brothers Timber Company, linking Hartford with Lake Stevens. Two years later Rucker Mill was opened, located along and in the north cove of the lake (original pilings can still be seen in the old lake outflow area just south of the boat launch). In 1919, the mill, which became known as the "world's largest sawmill", burned and was partially rebuilt. When it burned a second time in 1925 the mill was dismantled and Lake Stevens lost the very industry which caused its founding. However, by then a flourishing town was established and continued under its own momentum.

Enroll in the Ideal Physical Therapist Degree Program near Lake Stevens WA

Choosing the ideal physical therapist college is a necessary first decision you must make to begin a fulfilling career in the healthcare profession. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you decide on should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. But there are additional important questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist college, keep in mind that many factors will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You may want to go to different campuses to view their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the right selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Lake Stevens WA.

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