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

How to Select a Physical Therapist School near Walla Walla 99362

Walla Walla WA physical therapy school student with volunteerEarning a physical therapy degree near Walla Walla WA is an important first step to launching a fulfilling career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated due to illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the necessary training and education. A PT must also become licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate those you are thinking about to make sure they will provide a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is choose a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be considered along with location and cost. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.

What Does a Physical Therapist Do?

Walla Walla WA physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists practice in diverse locations, such as Walla Walla WA hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also strive to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Head injuries.
  • Heart attacks.
  • Sports injuries.
  • Fire injuries.
  • Hip Replacement.
  • Sciatica.
  • Multiple Sclerosis.

Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Walla Walla WA health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees

Walla Walla WA physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are 3 physical therapist degree options available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the only 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 readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degree levels that are offered in the Walla Walla WA area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are typically made available by junior or community colleges, and require 2 years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually part of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy training 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 important initial step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally require 4 years to complete and usually incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are required in order to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program must also 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 overall investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential element along with the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in a number of states for licensing also.

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 United States. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapist Online Colleges

woman attending physical therapy school online in Walla Walla WAWhile not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are a number of 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 integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the program may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Walla Walla WA residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition can be somewhat lower than similar on campus options, and costs for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges

At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning a few of your initial questions, such as the type of physical therapy degree you would like to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the Walla Walla WA area and throughout Washington, you’ll have to research other qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school choices. Furthermore, you need to be sure that you pick the school that is best for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are considering. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions before making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national 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 choose an online college, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple 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 check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact several Walla Walla WA physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your program selections. It may also be prudent to check with 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 two useful statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapy programs you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students dropped out because of displeasure 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 Walla Walla WA area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also affirms that the program has a large network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you select provides both excellent training and a curriculum 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 college. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapist colleges you are interested in have associations with Walla Walla WA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Walla Walla health care community and help with job placement after licensing.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable 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 prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.

Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Walla Walla WA home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required 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 Support Offered? Most DPT schools offer some form of financial aid to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are considering have a financial assistance office and see what type of assistance is available. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance might be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapy program you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Walla Walla WA area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Walla Walla Washington?

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

Walla Walla, Washington

The population of the city itself was 31,731 at the 2010 census. The population of Walla Walla and its two suburbs, the town of College Place and unincorporated "East Walla Walla," is about 45,000.[7] Walla Walla is in the southeastern region of Washington, approximately four hours away by car from Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, and only six miles north of the Oregon border.

Recorded history in this state begins with the establishment of Fort Nez Perce in 1818 by the North West Company to trade with the Walla Walla people and other local Native American groups. At the time, the term "Nez Perce" was used more broadly than today, and included the Walla Walla in its scope in English usage.[8] Fort Nez Perce had its name shift to Fort Walla Walla. It was located significantly west of the present city.

On September 1, 1836, Marcus Whitman arrived with his wife Narcissa Whitman.[9] Here they established the Whitman Mission in an unsuccessful attempt to convert the local Walla Walla tribe to Christianity. Following a disease epidemic, both were killed by the Cayuse who believed that the missionaries were poisoning the native peoples. Whitman College was established in their honor.

Pick the Right Physical Therapy College near Walla Walla WA

Picking the best physical therapist program is a necessary initial decision you have to make to launch a gratifying career in the medical field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you choose should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are additional important questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapy school, bear in mind that many factors will guide you to your ultimate decision. You may decide to visit different colleges to view their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the right choice. And with the proper education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Walla Walla WA.

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