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

How to Select a Physical Therapist School near Charleston 25301

Charleston WV physical therapy school student with volunteerReceiving a physical therapist degree near Charleston WV is an essential first step to starting a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated due to illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the proper training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate those you are thinking about to make sure they will supply a superior education and meet your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is select a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must 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 what the educational options are.

What Do Physical Therapists Do?

Charleston WV physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists work in a variety of settings, such as Charleston 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 individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Strokes.
  • Heart attacks.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
  • Burn injuries.
  • Knee Replacement.
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Multiple Sclerosis.

Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Charleston WV medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also manage several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about going 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 prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees Available

Charleston WV physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are three physical therapist degree options offered for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short summaries of degree levels that are offered in the Charleston WV area:

  • Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are usually provided by community colleges, and require two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a component of the program.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training to ready candidates to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally take four years to finish and commonly incorporate an internship program of at least 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 finish, making the overall commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an essential element along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in several states for licensing as well.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer available in the United States. A number of practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapist Degrees Online

woman attending physical therapy school online in Charleston WVWhile not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees available, 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 necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Charleston WV residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition might be somewhat lower than comparable on campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the ideal 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 regarding several of your preliminary questions, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are so many PT schools within the Charleston WV area and across West Virginia, you’ll have to explore additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college options. Also, you need to make certain that you select the school that is right for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited?  Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously stated, 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 earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapist program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the College’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Call several Charleston WV physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your school options. It might also be prudent to contact the West Virginia Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.

What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of important statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapist colleges you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Charleston WV area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also confirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you select provides both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for West Virginia or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. 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 supplemental tests.

Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the physical therapy programs you are reviewing have associations with Charleston WV hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Charleston healthcare community and help with job placement after licensing.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.

Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Charleston WV residence. Students who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to keep 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 might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually 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 Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT schools offer some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are considering have a financial assistance office and see what kind of assistance is available. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance may be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist program you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Charleston WV area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Charleston West Virginia?

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

Charleston, West Virginia

Charleston is the most populous city in, and the capital of, the U.S. state of West Virginia. Located at the confluence of the Elk and Kanawha rivers, the population during the 2016 Census Estimate was 49,138. The Charleston metropolitan area as a whole had 217,916 residents. Charleston is the center of government, commerce, and industry for Kanawha County, of which it is the county seat.[6]

Early industries important to Charleston included salt and the first natural gas well.[7] Later, coal became central to economic prosperity in the city and the surrounding area. Today, trade, utilities, government, medicine, and education play central roles in the city's economy.

Charleston is the home of the West Virginia Power minor league baseball team, the West Virginia Wild minor league basketball team, and the annual 15-mile (24 km) Charleston Distance Run. Yeager Airport and the University of Charleston are also located in the city. West Virginia University, Marshall University, and West Virginia State University also have higher education campuses in the area.

Select the Ideal Physical Therapy Degree Program near Charleston WV

Selecting the ideal physical therapist program is a necessary first decision you need to make to start a gratifying career in the health care field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you decide on should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are other important questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapy school, keep in mind that numerous variables will lead you toward your final decision. You may want to go to each of the schools to see their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Charleston WV.

A Few More Interesting Locations in West Virginia

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