Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – Maple Valley WA

How to Pick a Physical Therapy Program near Maple Valley 98038

Maple Valley WA physical therapy school student with volunteerGetting a physical therapist degree near Maple Valley WA is an important first step to beginning a rewarding career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated due to illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the necessary education and training. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate those you are considering to make sure they will furnish a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is choose a college just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated in addition to location and cost. But before we talk about 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 is a Physical Therapist?

Maple Valley WA physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists practice in diverse locations, including Maple Valley WA hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any progression of the disability. Though 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.
  • Fire injuries.
  • Knee Replacement.
  • Sciatica.
  • Cerebral Palsy.

Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Maple Valley WA medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees Available

Maple Valley WA physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are 3 physical therapy degrees available for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degree levels that are offered in the Maple Valley WA area:

  • Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically provided by community or junior colleges, and require two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a portion of the program.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy education to ready candidates to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they normally require four years to finish and often 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 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 intregal component along with the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in some 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 attainable in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapist Online Programs

woman attending physical therapy school online in Maple Valley WAAlthough not as prevalent as the more traditional alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of 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 nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Maple Valley WA home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition can be significantly less than comparable on campus options, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.

Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges

By now you probably have come to decision concerning a few of your initial questions, such as the type of physical therapy degree you would like to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the Maple Valley WA area and across Washington, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of school options. Furthermore, you want to make certain that you choose the school that is right for you. That’s why we have collected a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously 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 enroll in an online program, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the College’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can research a PT college’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call a few Maple Valley WA physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your college options. It might 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 Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two significant statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapy colleges you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Maple Valley WA area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps excellent. It also affirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students get internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you choose furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements for Washington or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internships Provided? Find out if the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing have relationships with Maple Valley WA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Maple Valley medical community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.

Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Maple Valley WA residence. Students who have chosen to attend online classes 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 even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Most DPT schools offer some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and find out what type of assistance is offered. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid may be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapy school you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Maple Valley WA area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Maple Valley Washington?

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

Maple Valley, Washington

The area was settled in 1879 by three men who were improving a trail and brought their families in. When a name for a future community was proposed, the names Vine Maple Valley and Maple Ridge were suggested. A vote was taken by writing the names on slips of paper and placing them in a hat. Vine Maple Valley won by 2/3, but the word "Vine" was later cut by the post office because it made the name too long.

The town's early history mainly had to do with coal, lumber milling to build homes, and a railroad that ran through town. Coal was brought in from Black Diamond to the south, but the town itself also mined coal from Cedar Mountain. The mine was used as late as 1947. Rail workers for lines like the Northern Pacific Railroad and the Cedar River Watershed, closed off by the City of Seattle, meant more workers for those things. More residents meant more lumber milling. More lumber milling meant more workers. Suquamish tribe chairperson Martha George was born near Maple Valley in Sheridan in 1892, at a logging camp where her mother and grandmother worked as cooks."[5]

The town grew inward. Blacksmith shops, hotels, saloons and stores took up the town in the 1910s and 1920s. Schools went up as well. Early schools were shacks at best. A two-room school went up in 1910, but a larger school was quickly needed. Tahoma High School, a three-story brick building, went up in 1920. Students made up the name by combining the first two letters in the town names Taylor, Hobart and Maple Valley.[6] The school still serves the Tahoma School District as an elementary school.

Select the Ideal Physical Therapist College near Maple Valley WA

Choosing the ideal physical therapist program is a necessary first decision you have to make to start a rewarding career in the medical profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you decide on should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. But there are additional critical questions that you should ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapist school, keep in mind that many factors will guide you to your final decision. You may decide to go to different campuses to see their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me realize my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the right selection. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Maple Valley WA.

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