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

How to Choose a Physical Therapy College near Lakewood 98439

Lakewood WA physical therapy school student with volunteerGetting a physical therapy degree near Lakewood WA is an essential first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated due to injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the necessary education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to research the ones you are looking at to make certain they will furnish a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is select a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be considered in addition to 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 the options for education.

What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?

Lakewood WA physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists work in varying locations, such as Lakewood WA hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they create a program of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Strokes.
  • Heart attacks.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
  • Fire injuries.
  • Hip Replacement.
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Cerebral Palsy.

Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Lakewood WA health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degree Options

Lakewood WA physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are three physical therapist degrees available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the single 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 preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are brief summaries of degree levels that are available in the Lakewood WA area:

  • Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are most often offered by community or junior colleges, and take about two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a component of the course of study.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist education to prep candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally require 4 years to complete and usually include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are mandated 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 three years to finish, making the overall commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an important component in addition to the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in a number of 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 phased out and is no longer available in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapist Colleges Online

woman attending physical therapy school online in Lakewood WAWhile not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapy degrees 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 school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the program may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Lakewood WA home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition may be significantly less than similar on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.

Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges

By now you probably have made a decision regarding a few of your initial questions, like the kind of physical therapist degree you want to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are so many PT schools within the Lakewood WA area and throughout Washington, you’ll need to research additional qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Furthermore, you want to be sure that you choose the school 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 thinking about. Ask each of the potential schools these questions before making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. 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 select an online program, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the College’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact some Lakewood WA physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your program options. 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 filed against the colleges.

What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapy programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Lakewood WA area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also verifies that the school has a large network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the school you enroll in furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria for Washington or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the physical therapy programs you are interested in have associations with Lakewood WA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Lakewood medical community and help with job placement after licensing.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor 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 tech program also.

Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Lakewood WA residence. Those who have decided to attend classes online 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 decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Support Provided? The majority of DPT schools provide some type of financial aid to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department and see what kind of help is available. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance may be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapist school you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Lakewood WA area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Lakewood Washington?

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

Lakewood, Washington

Lakewood was officially incorporated on February 28, 1996. Historical names include Tacoma/Lakewood Center and Lakes District (this name was used by the U.S. Census in the 1970 and 1980 Census). Lakewood is the second-largest city in Pierce County and is home to the Clover Park School District, the Lakewood Water District, Fort Steilacoom Park and Western State Hospital, a regional state psychiatric hospital.[7]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.95 square miles (49.08 km2), of which, 17.17 square miles (44.47 km2) is land and 1.78 square miles (4.61 km2) is water.[2]

There are several lakes within the city limits; the largest in area are American Lake, Lake Steilacoom, Gravelly Lake, Lake Louise, and Waughop Lake. A number of small creeks flow through Lakewood, some of which drain into nearby Puget Sound. The largest of these, Chambers Creek, flows from Lake Steilacoom to Chambers Bay between nearby University Place and Steilacoom.

Choose the Best Physical Therapist College near Lakewood WA

Choosing the right physical therapist college is a necessary initial decision you must make to start a rewarding career in the medical profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you pick should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are additional important questions that you should ask regarding your college of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapist program, keep in mind that a number of variables will lead you to your final decision. You might want to visit different campuses to see their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Lakewood WA.

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    Business Results 1 - 10 of 256

    North Harbor Physical Therapy
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