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

How to Pick a Physical Therapy College near Spanaway 98387

Spanaway WA physical therapy school student with volunteerEarning a physical therapist degree near Spanaway WA is an essential first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled as a result of injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate those you are thinking about to make sure they will supply a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be evaluated in addition to cost and location. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.

What Does a Physical Therapist Do?

Spanaway WA physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists work in varying settings, such as Spanaway 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 diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Head injuries.
  • Heart attacks.
  • Sports injuries.
  • Fire injuries.
  • Hip Replacement.
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Cerebral Palsy.

Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Spanaway WA health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees Available

Spanaway WA physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are 3 physical therapy degrees offered for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the one 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 progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief descriptions of degrees that are available in the Spanaway WA area:

  • Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are most often made available by community or junior colleges, and require two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a component 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 required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take four years to complete and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are a requirement if you want to become a practicing licensed 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 total investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential component in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in some 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 attainable in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapy Online Colleges

woman attending physical therapy school online in Spanaway WAAlthough not as common as the more traditional alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to 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 a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Spanaway WA residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition can be significantly lower than similar on campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.

What to Ask Physical Therapist Programs

By now you probably have made a decision concerning some of your preliminary questions, like the kind of physical therapist degree you want to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Spanaway WA area and throughout Washington, you’ll have to research additional qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of school options. Moreover, you want to be sure that you enroll in the college that is ideal for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist programs you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions before making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited?  Find out if the colleges 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 program, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist community. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact a few Spanaway WA physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your college selections. It may also be prudent 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 Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapist colleges you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Spanaway WA area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or even outstanding. It also confirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the school you enroll in provides both exceptional 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are assessing have partnerships with Spanaway WA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Spanaway health care community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.

Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Spanaway WA home. Those who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep 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 be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.

Is Financial Support Provided? The majority of DPT schools provide some form of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid department and find out what type of help is offered. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial aid might be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapy program you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Spanaway WA area, make certain that they are offered. 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 have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Spanaway Washington?

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

Spanaway, Washington

Spanaway is a census-designated place (CDP) in Pierce County, Washington, United States. The population was 27,227 at the 2010 census. Spanaway is an unincorporated area near Tacoma, and is often identified together with the more urban, less wealthy Parkland.

The song "The Needle Has Landed" from Neko Case's CD Fox Confessor Brings the Flood mentions Spanaway in passing. Tacoma alternative pop/rock band Seaweed also released an album entitled Spanaway. Long Island, New York band The Movielife also has a song called "Spanaway".

Etymology: The Hudson's Bay Company, headquartered at Fort Nisqually, had control of this region until 1863. Company maps and journals show the company's subsidiary, the Pugets Sound Agricultural Company, raised cattle, grain, and sheep at "Spanueh Station" on the south and east shores of "Spanueh Lake." Spanueh is the Hudson Bay Company's spelling of the native Lushootseed spadue, which means "dug roots" referring to an area where camas and other edible roots can be found. Lushootseed underwent a loss of nasal consonants in the 1800s, so "Spanueh" simply transcribes an older pronunciation of what is now "Spadue".[3]

Choose the Ideal Physical Therapist School near Spanaway WA

Picking the ideal physical therapy school is a necessary first decision you have to make to start a fulfilling career in the health care field. As we have covered 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 other relevant questions that you should ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapy school, keep in mind that numerous factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might decide to go to different campuses to view their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Spanaway WA.

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