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

How to Enroll In a Physical Therapist Program near Onalaska 98570

Onalaska WA physical therapy school student with volunteerReceiving a physical therapist degree near Onalaska WA is a critical first step to starting a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled due to illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the necessary education and training. A PT must also be licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate those you are thinking about to ensure they will deliver a superior education and meet your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is enroll in a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be evaluated along with location and cost. But before we talk about 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 Do Physical Therapists Do?

Onalaska WA physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists practice in varying settings, including Onalaska WA private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often 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 eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Head injuries.
  • Heart attacks.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
  • Burn injuries.
  • Hip Replacement.
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Multiple Sclerosis.

Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Onalaska WA medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to take note of for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees

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

  • Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically made available by community colleges, and require two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a portion of the program.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to prepare candidates 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 most bachelor’s degrees, they typically require 4 years to finish and commonly incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are required 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 three years to finish, making the overall investment of time 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential element in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in several states for licensing also.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated 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 existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapist Programs Online

woman attending physical therapy school online in Onalaska WAAlthough not as prevalent as the on-campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Onalaska WA residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat lower 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 may make the online option the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.

Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Schools

At this point you probably have come to decision regarding some of your initial questions, including the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are so many PT colleges within the Onalaska WA area and across Washington, you’ll need to look into other qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Furthermore, you need to be sure that you enroll in the college 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 therapist programs you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited?  Ask if the programs you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national 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 choose an online program, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not just the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT college’s reputation, beginning with asking for 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 as well. Contact a few Onalaska WA physical therapy clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your program options. It may also be prudent to contact the Washington Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of useful statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students left because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Onalaska WA area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even outstanding. It also confirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you enroll in furnishes both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for Washington or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the physical therapy programs you are reviewing have partnerships with Onalaska WA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Onalaska healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.

Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Onalaska WA residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Most DPT schools supply some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of assistance is obtainable. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. Some physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial aid might be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapist program you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Onalaska WA area, make certain 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 procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Onalaska Washington?

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

Onalaska, Washington

The name for the community comes from the poem, "The Pleasures of Hope" by Scottish poet Thomas Campbell. Onalaska, Washington, Onalaska, Wisconsin, Onalaska, Arkansas and Onalaska, Texas are all historically connected to one another through the lumber industry.[citation needed]

Onalaska was built around the inland mill established by the Carlisle Lumber Company in 1909. The smokestack near Carlisle Lake is the last trace of one of the most successful mid-sized sawmills in Washington State. At its peak in 1929, company inventory numbered over 20 million board feet of lumber — enough to stretch all the way to the Panama Canal.

The mill employed a sizeable number of Japanese and Japanese Americans. They lived north of today's State Route 508 and east of Carlisle Avenue. The streets, which ran parallel to Carlisle Avenue were called Oriental Avenue, Nippon Avenue and Tokyo Avenue.

Choose the Ideal Physical Therapy School near Onalaska WA

Selecting the best physical therapist program is a necessary first decision you need to make to begin a rewarding career in the health care profession. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you pick should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. But there are other critical questions that you need to ask pertaining to your school of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapy school, bear in mind that numerous factors will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You might decide to go to different campuses to view their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the best choice. And with the proper education and training, you can accomplish your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Onalaska WA.

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