Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – Madison WI

How to Select a Physical Therapy Program near Madison 53701

Madison WI physical therapy school student with volunteerReceiving a physical therapist degree near Madison WI is a critical first step to beginning a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated as a result of injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the proper education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate those you are looking at to make sure they will furnish a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is choose a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be evaluated besides location and cost. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.

What Do Physical Therapists Do?

Madison WI physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists practice in diverse settings, including Madison WI private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they create a program of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Strokes.
  • Cardiac arrest.
  • Sports injuries.
  • Burn injuries.
  • Hip Replacement.
  • Sciatica.
  • Cerebral Palsy.

Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Madison WI medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees

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

  • Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually offered by community or junior colleges, and require two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a portion of the program.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist education to prepare students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take four years to complete and usually include 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 three years to complete, making the total commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an essential component along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in some 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 offered in the USA. A number of practicing physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapist Degrees Online

woman attending physical therapy school online in Madison WIWhile not as common as the more traditional options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees available, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the program may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Madison WI residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat lower than comparable on-campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.

Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Schools

At this point you most likely have made a decision concerning several of your preliminary queries, including the type of physical therapist degree you would like to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Madison WI area and throughout Wisconsin, you’ll have to explore additional qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of college options. Also, you need to be sure that you choose the college that is best for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As previously mentioned, 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 college, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the School’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with several Madison WI physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your program options. It may also be prudent to check with the Wisconsin Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.

What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of useful statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy programs you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students left because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After 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 Madison WI area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also confirms that the school has a large network of contacts to help students get internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the school you select furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for Wisconsin 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 therapist program. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internships Provided? Ask if the physical therapy colleges you are evaluating have relationships with Madison WI clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Madison healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program also.

Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Madison WI home. Those who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.

Is Financial Support Offered? The majority of DPT schools offer some form of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are considering have a financial assistance office and find out what type of aid is available. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating 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 select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Madison WI 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 courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Madison Wisconsin?

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

Madison, Wisconsin

Madison is the capital of the U.S. state of Wisconsin and the seat of Dane County. As of July 1, 2017, Madison's estimated population of 255,214[4] made it the second-largest city in Wisconsin, after Milwaukee, and the 82nd-largest in the United States. The city forms the core of the United States Census Bureau's Madison Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Dane County and neighboring Iowa, Green, and Columbia counties. The Madison Metropolitan Statistical Area's 2010 population was 568,593.

Founded in 1829 on an isthmus between Lake Monona and Lake Mendota, Madison was named the capital of the Wisconsin Territory in 1836 and became the capital of the state of Wisconsin when it was admitted to the Union in 1848. That same year, the University of Wisconsin was founded in Madison and the state government and university have become the city's two largest employers.[5] The city is also known for its lakes, restaurants, and extensive network of parks and bike trails, with much of the park system designed by landscape architect John Nolen.

Since the 1960s, Madison has been a center of political liberalism.[6] Though Wisconsin is regarded as a "battleground" or "swing" state in elections,[7] Madison and Dane County have supported every Democratic Party presidential nominee since John F. Kennedy in 1960, with the party's most recent nominees, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, carrying Dane County with over 70 per cent of the vote in 2008, 2012, and 2016.[8]

Select the Ideal Physical Therapist Training Program near Madison WI

Selecting the best physical therapy college is an important first decision you must make to begin a gratifying career in the health care field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you select should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. But there are other critical questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapy college, bear in mind that a number of variables will lead you to your ultimate decision. You may want to visit each of the schools to view their facilities and talk to current 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 adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the right selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Madison WI.

A Few More Interesting Locations in Wisconsin

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