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

How to Enroll In a Physical Therapy Program near Rainier 98576

Rainier WA physical therapy school student with volunteerObtaining a physical therapist degree near Rainier WA is a critical first step to launching a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to investigate those you are looking at to ensure they will deliver a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has cheapest 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 the options for education.

What Does a Physical Therapist Do?

Rainier WA physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists practice in diverse settings, such as Rainier WA hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a course of treatment to address the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Head injuries.
  • Heart attacks.
  • Sports injuries.
  • Burn injuries.
  • Knee Replacement.
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Multiple Sclerosis.

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

Physical Therapy Degrees Offered

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

  • Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to 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 community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a portion of the program.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist education to prepare candidates to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they generally require four years to finish and often incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want 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 total commitment seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential element in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in several 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 attainable in the USA. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapist Online Colleges

woman attending physical therapy school online in Rainier WAAlthough not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the school campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Rainier WA home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat lower than comparable on campus options, and costs for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.

Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Programs

By now you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding a few of your preliminary questions, like the kind of physical therapy degree you want to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the Rainier WA area and throughout Washington, you’ll need to look into additional qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of school options. Furthermore, you need to make sure that you enroll in the college that is best for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions before making a final decision.

Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited?  Ask if the programs you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As previously mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you select an online school, it may also obtain 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. Additionally, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the College’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT college’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Call a few Rainier WA physical therapy centers or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your school options. It might also be a good idea to contact 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 two significant statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapy programs you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Rainier WA area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also confirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment after graduation.

Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you enroll in furnishes both superior 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 needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapy programs you are interested in have partnerships with Rainier WA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Rainier health care community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are looking at 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 talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.

Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Rainier WA home. Students who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally 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 Support Offered? Most DPT colleges offer some type of financial aid to their prospective students. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department and find out what type of aid is available. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. Some physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance might be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapist college you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Rainier WA area, make certain 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 have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Rainier Washington?

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

Rainier, Washington

Rainier is a city in Thurston County, Washington, United States. Beginning as a train stop in the 1870s, Rainier was first settled in 1890, and was officially incorporated in 1947. The population was 1,794 at the 2010 census.

Rainier began in the 1870s as a stop on the Northern Pacific Railroad line between Kalama, Washington and Tacoma. Situated amidst the ‘ten al quelth’ prairies – Lushootseed for "the best yet" – it was named for its view of Mount Rainier.[5] In 1890, Albert and Maria Gehrke were the first permanent settlers to homestead in Rainier; later that year a store and post office were established by Henry Harmer, who homesteaded with his wife Jessie and children on the Deschutes river near Rainier.[5] Rainier was officially platted in 1891.[6]

In 1906, the Bob White Lumber Company opened, bringing prosperity to the area through logging and sawmilling.[5] Other lumber companies, such as Deschutes, Gruber and Docherty, and Fir Tree, were soon attracted to the area as well. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, several of these mill operations and many of the local buildings were destroyed by a series of fires, leading many residents to seek work at Weyerhaeuser Lumber at nearby Vail, which is now a ghost town.[5]

Choose the Ideal Physical Therapy Degree Program near Rainier WA

Picking the ideal physical therapy school is an important first decision you have to make to begin a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you decide on should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are other important questions that you should ask concerning your school of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapy college, keep in mind that a number of factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You may want to go to different schools to see their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical 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 field so you can make the ideal selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Rainier WA.

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