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

How to Pick a Physical Therapy College near Rochester 98579

Rochester WA physical therapy school student with volunteerObtaining a physical therapist degree near Rochester WA is an essential first step to launching a rewarding career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled 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 need to get the necessary education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research those you are looking at to ensure they will deliver a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is select a school just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be evaluated along with location and cost. But before we cover 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 is a Physical Therapist?

Rochester WA physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists practice in varying settings, such as Rochester WA private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to address the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Head injuries.
  • Cardiac arrest.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
  • Burn injuries.
  • Hip Replacement.
  • Sciatica.
  • Cerebral Palsy.

Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Rochester WA health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degree Options

Rochester WA physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are 3 physical therapist degree options offered for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is available 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 short descriptions of degree levels that are available in the Rochester WA area:

  • Associate Degrees prepare students to be 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 degrees are usually made available by community colleges, and require two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a portion of the course of study.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist training to prepare candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically require four years to finish and often incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want to become a licensed practicing 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 three years to complete, making the total commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an important element along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in a number of states for licensing as well.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer available in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapy Schools Online

woman attending physical therapy school online in Rochester WAAlthough not as prevalent as the on-campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, more so 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 necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online portion of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Rochester WA residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition may be somewhat less than similar on campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.

Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Programs

At this point you probably have come to decision regarding several of your preliminary queries, like the type 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 since there are numerous PT colleges within the Rochester WA area and throughout Washington, you’ll have to look into other qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of school choices. Furthermore, you need to make certain that you choose the program that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited?  Ask if the schools you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As previously mentioned, 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 school, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the College’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several ways you can investigate a PT program’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call some Rochester WA physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your school options. It might also be a good idea to contact the Washington Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.

What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of useful statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapist colleges you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Rochester WA area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even exceptional. It also confirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment after graduation.

Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you select provides both excellent training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements 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) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the physical therapy colleges you are assessing have associations with Rochester WA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Rochester healthcare community and help with job placement after licensing.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small 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 classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.

Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Rochester WA home. Students who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Aid Provided? The majority of DPT schools provide some type of financial support to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are examining have a financial aid office and see what kind of assistance is obtainable. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance might be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapist school you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Rochester WA area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, ask 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 Rochester Washington?

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

Rochester, Washington

Rochester (/ˈrɒtʃɛstər/) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Thurston County, Washington, United States. It was founded in 1852, and the 2010 census recorded its population at 2,388. According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 2.3 square miles (6.0 square kilometers), all of it land. Rochester Schools had 2095 students registered in 2011.

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 1,829 people, 647 households, and 505 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 790.2 people per square mile (305.7/km²). There were 677 housing units at an average density of 292.5/sq mi (113.2/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 88.41% White, 0.16% African American, 1.69% Native American, 0.93% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 5.52% from other races, and 3.17% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.39% of the population. 12.8% were of German, 11.5% Irish, 7.8% American, 7.5% Norwegian, 5.6% English and 5.4% Scottish ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 647 households out of which 41.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.4% were married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.9% were non-families. 17.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.83 and the average family size was 3.14.

Enroll in the Right Physical Therapist Training Program near Rochester WA

Choosing the best physical therapy college is a necessary first decision you need to make to begin a gratifying career in the health care profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you choose should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. However there are additional important questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapy college, keep in mind that many variables will guide you to your final decision. You might want to go to each of the schools to see their facilities and talk with current 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 following our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the ideal choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Rochester WA.

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