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

How to Find the Right Physical Therapy Program near Wheeling 26003

Wheeling WV physical therapy school student with volunteerObtaining a physical therapist degree near Wheeling WV is an important first step to launching a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled due to injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s important to investigate those you are looking at to ensure they will provide a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated besides location and cost. But before we cover 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 Do Physical Therapists Do?

Wheeling WV physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists practice in diverse locations, including Wheeling WV private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Head injuries.
  • Heart attacks.
  • Sports injuries.
  • Burn injuries.
  • Hip Replacement.
  • Sciatica.
  • Multiple Sclerosis.

Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Wheeling WV health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to take note of for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees Offered

Wheeling 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 options, the one degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degree levels that are available in the Wheeling WV area:

  • Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are most often offered by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a portion of the course of study.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist education to prepare candidates to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally take 4 years to complete and often incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want to become a practicing licensed 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 3 years to finish, making the overall commitment seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal element in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in a number of states for licensing also.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has taken the place of the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer available in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapist Colleges Online

woman attending physical therapy school online in Wheeling WVWhile not as common as the on campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapy degrees 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 requires that the student live near the college campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Wheeling WV residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition can be somewhat lower than similar on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Programs

At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning several of your initial queries, like the kind of physical therapist degree you intend to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Wheeling WV area and throughout West Virginia, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of college options. Furthermore, you need to be sure that you pick the school that is right for you. That’s why we have collected a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist programs you are considering. Ask each of the competing schools these questions prior to making a final decision.

Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited?  Ask if the programs you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As earlier stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you enroll in an online program, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not just the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the College’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several ways you can investigate a PT college’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Contact several Wheeling WV physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your program selections. It might also be a good idea 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 College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of useful statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist schools you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Wheeling 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 affirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to help students get internships or employment after graduation.

Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you choose provides both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria 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) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the physical therapy programs you are reviewing have partnerships with Wheeling WV hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Wheeling medical community and help with job placement once licensed.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing 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 final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.

Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Wheeling WV residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing 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 may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally 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 Assistance Offered? Most DPT colleges supply some form of financial aid to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department and see what kind of aid is obtainable. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. Some physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid might be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapy school you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Wheeling WV area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask 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 Wheeling West Virginia?

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

Wheeling, West Virginia

Wheeling is a city in Ohio and Marshall counties in the U.S. state of West Virginia. Located almost entirely in Ohio County, of which it is the county seat,[5] it lies along the Ohio River in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Wheeling was originally a settlement in the British colony of Virginia and later an important city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Wheeling was the first state capital of West Virginia. Due to its location along major transportation routes, including the Ohio River, National Road, and the B&O Railroad, Wheeling became a manufacturing center in the late nineteenth century. After experiencing the closing of factories and substantial population loss following World War II, Wheeling's major industries now include healthcare, education, law and legal services, entertainment and tourism, and energy.

Wheeling is the principal city of the Wheeling, WV-OH Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the MSA had a population of 147,950, and the city itself had a population of 28,486. Wheeling is the current seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling–Charleston.

The origins of the name "Wheeling" are disputed. One of the more credible explanations is that the word comes from the Lenni-Lenape phrase wih link or wee lunk, which meant "place of the head" or "place of the skull." This supposedly referred to a white settler who was scalped and decapitated. His severed head was displayed at the confluence of Wheeling Creek and the Ohio River.[6] The area had been inhabited by Native Americans for thousands of years. In the 17th century, the Iroquois from present-day New York state conquered the upper Ohio Valley, pushing out other tribes and maintaining the area as their hunting ground.

Pick the Best Physical Therapist School near Wheeling WV

Deciding on the right physical therapy college is an important first decision you must make to start a rewarding career in the healthcare profession. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you choose should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. But there are other relevant questions that you should ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist college, keep in mind that numerous variables will lead you to your final decision. You might want to visit each of the campuses to view their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me realize my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the right choice. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Wheeling WV.

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