Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – La Crosse WI

How to Pick a Physical Therapy College near La Crosse 54601

La Crosse WI physical therapy school student with volunteerObtaining a physical therapy degree near La Crosse WI is an important first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated due to illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to investigate the ones you are considering to make certain they will supply a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is enroll in a school just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be considered in addition to cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.

What Does a Physical Therapist Do?

La Crosse WI physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists work in diverse locations, including La Crosse WI private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Strokes.
  • Cardiac arrest.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
  • Burn injuries.
  • Knee Replacement.
  • Sciatica.
  • Cerebral Palsy.

Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other La Crosse WI medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone considering entering the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees Available

La Crosse WI physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are three physical therapy degrees available for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is attainable to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degrees that are offered in the La Crosse WI area:

  • Associate Degrees educate students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are usually 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 normally a component of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist training to prep students to progress 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. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take four years to complete and commonly include 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the total commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential component along with the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in several 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 available in the USA. A number of practicing physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapy Online Colleges

woman attending physical therapy school online in La Crosse WIAlthough not as common as the on campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees available, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online part of the program may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s La Crosse WI residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat less than similar on-campus options, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Schools

By now you probably have made a decision regarding a few of your initial questions, such as the type of physical therapy degree you want to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are so many PT schools within the La Crosse WI area and across Wisconsin, you’ll need to research additional qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of college choices. Furthermore, you need to make sure that you select the college that is best for you. That’s why we have collected a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist programs you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential schools these questions before making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. 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 enroll in an online college, it may 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 simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the College’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Get in touch with several La Crosse WI physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your college selections. It may also be prudent to check with the Wisconsin Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the schools.

What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of useful statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapy colleges you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once 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 La Crosse WI area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also verifies that the program has a large network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you choose furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for Wisconsin or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapist programs you are reviewing have partnerships with La Crosse WI clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to get hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the La Crosse medical community and assist with job placement once licensed.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.

Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy school they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their La Crosse WI home. 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 perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT schools offer some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance office and see what type of assistance is offered. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid might be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapist school you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the La Crosse WI area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near La Crosse Wisconsin?

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

La Crosse, Wisconsin

The city's estimated population in 2017 was 51,834.[7] The city forms the core of and is the principal city in the La Crosse-Onalaska, WI-MN Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of La Crosse County and Houston County, Minnesota, with a combined population of 135,298.[8] La Crosse is home to the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Viterbo University, and Western Technical College. A regional technology and medical hub, La Crosse has received high rankings from some magazines in health, well-being, quality of life, and education.[6][9][10][11]

The first Europeans to see the site of La Crosse were French fur traders who traveled the Mississippi River in the late 17th century. There is no written record of any visit to the site until 1805, when Lt. Zebulon Pike mounted an expedition up the Mississippi River for the United States. Pike recorded the location's name as "Prairie La Crosse." The name originated from the game with sticks that resembled a bishop's crozier or la crosse in French, which was played by Native Americans there.[12][13]

The first white settlement at La Crosse occurred in 1841 when Nathan Myrick, a New York native, moved to the village at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin to work in the fur trade. Myrick was disappointed to find that because many fur traders were already well-entrenched there, there were no openings for him in the trade. As a result, he decided to establish a trading post upriver at the then still unsettled site of Prairie La Crosse. In 1841, he built a temporary trading post on Barron Island (now called Pettibone Park), which lies just west of La Crosse's present downtown. The following year, Myrick relocated the post to the mainland prairie, partnering with H. J. B. Miller to run the outfit.[14]

Enroll in the Right Physical Therapy Degree Program near La Crosse WI

Selecting the right physical therapy program is a necessary initial decision you have to make to begin a fulfilling career in the medical field. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you decide on should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. But there are additional relevant questions that you should ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapy program, bear in mind that a number of factors will guide you to your final decision. You might decide to go to each of the campuses to see their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the best selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in La Crosse WI.

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