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

How to Choose a Physical Therapy College near Petersburg 26847

Petersburg WV physical therapy school student with volunteerGetting a physical therapist degree near Petersburg WV is an important first step to launching a rewarding career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated due to illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the necessary education and training. A PT must also become licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate those you are thinking about to make sure they will deliver a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is enroll in a school just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be considered besides location and cost. But before we discuss 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 is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?

Petersburg WV physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists practice in diverse settings, including Petersburg WV 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 previously stated, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Head injuries.
  • Heart attacks.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
  • Fire injuries.
  • Knee Replacement.
  • Sciatica.
  • Cerebral Palsy.

Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Petersburg WV health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone considering entering the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees Offered

Petersburg WV physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are 3 physical therapy degree options offered for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the one 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 advance to the doctoral level. Following are short descriptions of degrees that are available in the Petersburg WV area:

  • Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually made available by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a portion of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist education to prep candidates to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they normally require 4 years to complete and often include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are mandated 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). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the total commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential component in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not just for graduation but in some 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 offered in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapy Degrees Online

woman attending physical therapy school online in Petersburg WVWhile not as prevalent as the more traditional options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online part of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Petersburg WV residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition may be somewhat lower than similar on-campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.

What to Ask Physical Therapist Programs

By now you probably have made a decision regarding some of your initial queries, like the type of physical therapist degree you want to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the Petersburg WV area and throughout West Virginia, you’ll have to research other qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Furthermore, you want to make sure that you select the school that is best for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final decision.

Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are looking at have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As earlier 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 enroll in an online college, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Also, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can research a PT school’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Call some Petersburg WV physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your school options. It may also be prudent to check with the West Virginia Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.

What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. One 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 help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Petersburg WV area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps excellent. It also verifies that the college has a broad network of contacts to help students obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the program you enroll in 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 required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as 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 Internships Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapy schools you are interested in have partnerships with Petersburg WV clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to get hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional connections in the Petersburg health care community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.

Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Petersburg WV residence. Students who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.

Is Financial Help Provided? Most DPT colleges provide some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department and find out what type of help is offered. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance might be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapy program you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Petersburg WV area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Petersburg West Virginia?

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

Petersburg, West Virginia

The climate in this area has mild differences between highs and lows, and there is adequate rainfall year-round. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Petersburg has a marine west coast climate, abbreviated "Cfb" on climate maps.[11]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 2,467 people, 1,113 households, and 614 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,522.8 inhabitants per square mile (588.0/km2). There were 1,310 housing units at an average density of 808.6 per square mile (312.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.3% White, 2.0% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 2.0% from other races, and 1.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.4% of the population.

There were 1,113 households of which 24.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.6% were married couples living together, 12.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 44.8% were non-families. 38.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.11 and the average family size was 2.77.

Pick the Ideal Physical Therapy Degree Program near Petersburg WV

Choosing the best physical therapist school is a necessary initial decision you need to make to begin a rewarding career in the healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you select should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. However there are other critical questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapy school, bear in mind that many variables will guide you toward your final decision. You may decide to go to each of the campuses to view their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing 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 training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Petersburg WV.

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