Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – Bluefield WV

How to Find the Right Physical Therapy Degree Program near Bluefield 24701

Bluefield WV physical therapy school student with volunteerGetting a physical therapy degree near Bluefield WV is an essential first step to launching a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated due to injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the proper education and training. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to evaluate the ones you are considering to make sure they will provide a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is enroll in a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated along with cost and location. 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?

Bluefield WV physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists practice in a variety of locations, such as Bluefield WV private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes 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 mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also strive to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Strokes.
  • Cardiac arrest.
  • Sports injuries.
  • Burn injuries.
  • Knee Replacement.
  • Sciatica.
  • Cerebral Palsy.

Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Bluefield WV health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees Offered

Bluefield WV physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are 3 physical therapy degree options available for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief summaries of degrees that are available in the Bluefield WV area:

  • Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are typically made available by community colleges, and take about two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically part of the course of study.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to prepare students to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take four years to complete and commonly incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are mandated in order 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 complete, making the total commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential component along with the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not just 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 offered in the United States. A number of licensed 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 Programs Online

woman attending physical therapy school online in Bluefield WVWhile not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist programs available, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online portion of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Bluefield WV residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat less than similar on campus options, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.

Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Schools

At this point you probably have made a decision concerning a few of your initial questions, including the type of physical therapist degree you would like to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the Bluefield WV area and across West Virginia, you’ll have to research other qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of college options. Moreover, you need to be sure that you pick the program that is ideal for you. That’s why we have put together a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions before making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited?  Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. 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 college, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for securing 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 exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are a number of ways you can research a PT school’s reputation, beginning with requesting 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 also. Get in touch with several Bluefield WV physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your program options. It might also be prudent to contact the West Virginia Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapist schools you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Bluefield WV area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or even outstanding. It also confirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you choose provides both excellent training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for West Virginia or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internships Provided? Ask if the physical therapy colleges you are assessing have partnerships with Bluefield WV clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional connections in the Bluefield medical community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.

Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapist school they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Bluefield WV home. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online 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 decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Support Offered? Most DPT schools provide some type of financial support to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are looking at have a financial assistance office and see what type of aid is offered. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. Some physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance may be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapist program you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Bluefield WV area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Bluefield West Virginia?

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

Bluefield, West Virginia

Bluefield is a city in Mercer County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 10,447 at the 2010 census. It is the core city of the Bluefield WV-VA micropolitan area, which has a population of 107,342.

Bluefield is located at 37°15′44″N 81°13′7″W / 37.26222°N 81.21861°W / 37.26222; -81.21861 (37.262219, -81.218674)[5] in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia across the state border from Bluefield, Virginia.

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 10,447 people, 4,643 households, and 2,772 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,179.1 inhabitants per square mile (455.3/km2). There were 5,457 housing units at an average density of 615.9 per square mile (237.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 73.7% White, 23.0% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.2% from other races, and 2.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.9% of the population.

Pick the Best Physical Therapist School near Bluefield WV

Picking the right physical therapy school is a necessary initial decision you need to make to begin a gratifying career in the healthcare profession. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you select should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are other critical questions that you should ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapist school, bear in mind that numerous variables will lead you to your ultimate decision. You may want to visit different colleges to view their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me achieve 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 necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Bluefield WV.

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