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

How to Pick a Physical Therapist Training Program near Shepherdstown 25443

Shepherdstown WV physical therapy school student with volunteerObtaining a physical therapy degree near Shepherdstown WV is an important first step to launching a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated due to illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the proper education and training. A PT must also be licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to evaluate the ones you are looking at to ensure they will furnish a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is enroll in a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be considered along with location and cost. But before we discuss 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 is a Physical Therapist?

Shepherdstown WV physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists practice in a variety of settings, such as Shepherdstown WV hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they create a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Strokes.
  • Cardiac arrest.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
  • Burn injuries.
  • Hip Replacement.
  • Sciatica.
  • Multiple Sclerosis.

Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Shepherdstown WV medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees

Shepherdstown WV physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are 3 physical therapy degrees offered for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief explanations of degrees that are available in the Shepherdstown WV area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are usually offered by community or junior colleges, and take about two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a portion of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to prepare candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While 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 the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically take 4 years to finish and commonly include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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 seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an important element along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not just 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 phased out and is no longer offered in the United States. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapy Schools Online

woman attending physical therapy school online in Shepherdstown WVWhile not as common as the on-campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the course of study can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Shepherdstown WV home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition can be significantly less than similar on campus options, 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 option the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges

At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding a few of your preliminary queries, including the type of physical therapist degree you would like to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Shepherdstown WV area and throughout West Virginia, you’ll have to research other qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of school options. Also, you want to make sure that you choose the school that is right for you. That’s why we have collected a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited?  Ask if the programs you are considering have received accreditation from a national or a regional 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 school, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the College’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can research a PT school’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact some Shepherdstown WV physical therapy centers or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your college options. It may also be prudent to check with the West Virginia Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.

What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Shepherdstown WV area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even exceptional. It also verifies that the program has a large network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you choose furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements for West Virginia or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapist colleges you are assessing have partnerships with Shepherdstown WV hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Shepherdstown healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.

Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapist school they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Shepherdstown WV home. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.

Is Financial Support Provided? Most DPT schools provide some form of financial aid to their potential students. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance department and see what type of aid is offered. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid might be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist college you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Shepherdstown WV area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out 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 Shepherdstown West Virginia?

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

Shepherdstown, West Virginia

Shepherdstown is a town in Jefferson County, West Virginia, in the United States, located in the lower Shenandoah Valley along the Potomac River. Home to Shepherd University, the town's population was 1,734 at the 2010 census.

Shepherdstown is located at 39°25′55″N 77°48′22″W / 39.43194°N 77.80611°W / 39.43194; -77.80611 (39.432005, −77.806108),[5] in the lower Shenandoah Valley along the Potomac River in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 1,734 people, 518 households, and 192 families residing in the town. The population density was 4,686.5 inhabitants per square mile (1,809.5/km2). There were 583 housing units at an average density of 1,575.7 per square mile (608.4/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 85.5% White, 9.5% African American, 0.1% Native American, 1.3% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.0% from other races, and 2.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.9% of the population.

Pick the Right Physical Therapist College near Shepherdstown WV

Picking the ideal physical therapy program is an important initial decision you have to make to launch a rewarding career in the healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you enroll in should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are other critical questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapist college, keep in mind that numerous factors will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You may decide to go to different colleges to view their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important 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 be able to narrow down the options so you can make the best selection. And with the proper training and education, you can accomplish your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Shepherdstown WV.

A Few More Interesting Locations in West Virginia

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