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

How to Enroll In a Physical Therapy School near Onalaska 54650

Onalaska WI physical therapy school student with volunteerGetting a physical therapy degree near Onalaska WI is a critical first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated due to illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the proper training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to investigate the ones you are considering to make certain they will deliver a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is select a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be considered besides location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.

What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?

Onalaska WI physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists work in diverse locations, such as Onalaska WI 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 earlier stated, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also strive to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:

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

Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Onalaska WI health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees Offered

Onalaska WI 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 only degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short summaries of degrees that are available in the Onalaska WI area:

  • Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can 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 most often offered by community colleges, and require two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically part of the course of study.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy training to ready students to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take 4 years to finish and commonly include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are required if you want to become a practicing licensed physical therapist. The degree program also must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to finish, making the total commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential component in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in a number of states for licensing also.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer available in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapy Online Colleges

woman attending physical therapy school online in Onalaska WIAlthough not as common as the on-campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the curriculum can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Onalaska WI home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition might be somewhat less than similar on campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.

What to Ask Physical Therapist Schools

By now you probably have made a decision regarding some of your initial questions, including the kind of physical therapy degree you want to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Onalaska WI area and across Wisconsin, you’ll have to explore other qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of college options. Also, you want to be sure that you choose the college that is right for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited?  Find out if the colleges 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 select an online school, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the Program’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, starting 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 organizations for their reviews also. Call some Onalaska WI physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your school selections. It may also be a good idea to check with the Wisconsin Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of useful statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students left due to 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 Onalaska WI area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also confirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the school you select furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements for Wisconsin or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapy colleges you are interested in have relationships with Onalaska WI hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to get hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional connections in the Onalaska healthcare community and help with job placement after licensing.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.

Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Onalaska WI home. Individuals who have decided 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 concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.

Is Financial Help Offered? Most DPT schools provide some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of help is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. Some physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid may be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapy program you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Onalaska WI 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 courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Onalaska Wisconsin?

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

Onalaska, Wisconsin

Onalaska is a city in La Crosse County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 17,736 at the 2010 census. It borders the larger La Crosse, Wisconsin, and is a part of the La Crosse-Onalaska, WI-MN Metropolitan Area.[4]

Onalaska is built on a slightly elevated ridge above the Black River. Natural areas include both river bottom land and high, heavily wooded, scenic bluffs. A man-made reservoir at the city's western edge is known as Lake Onalaska. Onalaska is known as "The Sunfish Capital of the World."

The original village (now city) was platted by Thomas G. Rowe (New York) and John C. Laird (Pennsylvania) in 1851. In its early days, lumbering and related industries served as a basis for its economy.[5]

Enroll in the Ideal Physical Therapist School near Onalaska WI

Choosing the best physical therapy college is a necessary first decision you must make to launch a gratifying career in the healthcare profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you enroll in should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are additional critical questions that you should ask concerning your school of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapy school, keep in mind that a number of variables will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might decide to go to each of the colleges to view their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Onalaska WI.

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