How to Find the Right Physical Therapist Degree Program near Little Rock 72201
Receiving a physical therapy degree near Little Rock AR is an important first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated due to illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the proper education and training. A PT must also become licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate the ones you are thinking about to make certain they will furnish a quality education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is choose a school just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be evaluated along with cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists work in a variety of settings, such as Little Rock AR hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Little Rock AR medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also supervise 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 field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are three physical therapy degrees available for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief descriptions of degree levels that are available in the Little Rock AR area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to be 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 be accepted for enrollment. The programs are typically made available by community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically part of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to prep candidates to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally take four years to complete and usually incorporate 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 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 training is an essential component in addition to the extensive classroom and lab 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 replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer attainable in the USA. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Degrees
While not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapist degrees available, even more 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. However, the online part of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Little Rock AR home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition can be significantly 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 benefits can make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
By now you most likely have come to decision regarding several of your preliminary queries, like the kind of physical therapy degree you intend to attain, 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 Little Rock AR area and across Arkansas, you’ll have to explore other qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of school options. Furthermore, you want to make certain that you select the school that is right for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are considering. Ask each of the competing schools these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Ask if the schools you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As earlier stated, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online school, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT program’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with a few Little Rock AR physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your college selections. It might also be a good idea to check with the Arkansas 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 Percentage? There are a couple of important statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist colleges you are looking at. First 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 assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Little Rock AR area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care field is good or even outstanding. It also confirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the school you choose furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapy programs you are evaluating have relationships with Little Rock AR clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Little Rock health care community and help with job placement once licensed.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are considering what the typical 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 determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Little Rock AR residence. Those who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry 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 choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally 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 Provided? Most DPT colleges supply some type of financial support to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department and see what kind of aid is offered. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. A number of physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial aid may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapist school you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Little Rock AR area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Little Rock Arkansas?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Little Rock AR area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Little Rock, Arkansas
Little Rock is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Arkansas. It is also the county seat of Pulaski County. It was incorporated on November 7, 1831, on the south bank of the Arkansas River close to the state's geographic center. The city derives its name from a rock formation along the river, named the "Little Rock" (French: La Petite Roche) by the French explorer Jean-Baptiste Bénard de la Harpe in the 1720s. The capital of the Arkansas Territory was moved to Little Rock from Arkansas Post in 1821. The city's population was 198,541 in 2016 according to the United States Census Bureau. The six-county Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is ranked 78th in terms of population in the United States with 738,344 residents according to the 2017 estimate by the United States Census Bureau.
Little Rock is a cultural, economic, government, and transportation center within Arkansas and the South. Several cultural institutions are in Little Rock, such as the Arkansas Arts Center, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, and the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, in addition to the hiking, boating, and other outdoor recreational opportunities. Little Rock's history is available through history museums, historic districts or neighborhoods like the Quapaw Quarter, and historic sites such as Little Rock Central High School. The city is the headquarters of Dillard's, Windstream Communications, Acxiom, Stephens Inc., University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Heifer International, the Clinton Foundation, and the Rose Law Firm. Other large corporations, such as Dassault Falcon Jet and LM Wind Power have large operations in the city. State government is a large employer, with many offices being in downtown Little Rock. Two major Interstate highways, Interstate 30 and Interstate 40, meet in Little Rock, with the Port of Little Rock serving as a shipping hub.
Little Rock derives its name from a small rock formation on the south bank of the Arkansas River called the "Little Rock" (French: La Petite Roche). The Little Rock was used by early river traffic as a landmark and became a well-known river crossing. The Little Rock is across the river from The Big Rock, a large bluff at the edge of the river, which was once used as a rock quarry.
Select the Best Physical Therapy School near Little Rock AR
Selecting the ideal physical therapist college is an important initial decision you must make to start a fulfilling career in the healthcare profession. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you pick should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are additional critical questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapy school, bear in mind that numerous variables will guide you to your final decision. You may decide to go to each of the campuses to view their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the right selection. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Little Rock AR.
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