How to Find the Right Physical Therapist College near Charlotte 72522
Getting a physical therapy degree near Charlotte AR is a critical first step to launching a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the proper training and education. A PT must also be licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research the ones you are considering to make certain they will deliver a quality education and meet your state’s licensing standards. What you should not 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 relevant qualifications that need to be evaluated along with 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?
Physical therapists work in a variety of settings, such as Charlotte AR private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they create a program of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Charlotte AR health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Offered
There are 3 physical therapist degree options offered for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is offered 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 brief descriptions of degrees that are available in the Charlotte AR area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be 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 usually offered by junior or community colleges, and require two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to prepare candidates to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically take 4 years to complete and commonly include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to finish, making the overall commitment seven years in most cases. Clinical training is an essential element in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in some states for licensing as well.
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. A number of practicing physical therapists holding 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 Online Schools
While not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online segment of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Charlotte AR residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition can be somewhat lower than similar on-campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
By now you probably have come to decision regarding several of your initial questions, including the type of physical therapist degree you would like to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Charlotte AR area and throughout Arkansas, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of school options. Moreover, you need to be sure that you enroll in the school that is best for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Ask 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 enroll in an online college, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapist program and school you select are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can research a PT school’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Contact several Charlotte AR physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your program selections. It might also be a good idea to contact the Arkansas Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of useful statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapist colleges you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Charlotte AR area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or even excellent. It also verifies that the program has a large network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you select furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria for Arkansas 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 school. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the physical therapist colleges you are assessing have partnerships with Charlotte AR clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to receive practical 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 establish professional connections in the Charlotte health care community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Charlotte AR home. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Support Provided? Most DPT colleges offer some type of financial aid to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are considering have a financial aid office and see what kind of aid is available. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. Some physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapist college you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Charlotte AR area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol 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 Charlotte Arkansas?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Charlotte AR area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
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Enroll in the Right Physical Therapy Degree Program near Charlotte AR
Picking the best physical therapist college is an important first decision you have to make to begin a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you select should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are additional relevant questions that you should ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapist program, bear in mind that a number of factors will guide you toward your final decision. You might decide to visit each of the schools to see their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me reach my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Charlotte AR.
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