How to Find the Right Physical Therapist Degree Program near Lonoke 72086
Getting a physical therapist degree near Lonoke AR is an important first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated due to injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the necessary education and training. A PT must also be licensed in every state, 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 the ones you are looking at to make certain they will deliver a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is select a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be considered 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 what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists work in a variety of settings, including Lonoke AR private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a program of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Lonoke AR medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
There are three physical therapy degree options offered for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short explanations of degree levels that are available in the Lonoke AR area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually offered by community or junior 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 developed as pre-physical therapy training to prep candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically take four years to finish and often 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 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 or practical training is an intregal element in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in a number of 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 phased out and is no longer offered in the USA. A number of practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Colleges
Although not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online segment of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Lonoke AR home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat lower than similar on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. 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.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
By now you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding some of your initial queries, like the type of physical therapy degree you want to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the Lonoke AR area and throughout Arkansas, you’ll have to research additional qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of college choices. Also, you need to make sure that you pick the school that is right for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Ask if the schools you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national 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 choose an online college, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapist program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can research a PT college’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call a few Lonoke AR physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your college options. 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 significant statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapy colleges you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Lonoke AR area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also confirms that the school has a large network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you choose furnishes both excellent 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 required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing have associations with Lonoke AR hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Lonoke medical community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. 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 speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist school they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Lonoke AR home. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something 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 might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT schools provide some type of financial support to their potential students. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial assistance department and find out what type of help is available. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapy school you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Lonoke AR area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Lonoke Arkansas?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Lonoke AR area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Lonoke is the second most populous city in Lonoke County, Arkansas, United States, and serves as its county seat. According to 2010 United States Census, the population of the city is 4,245. It is part of the Little Rock–North Little Rock–Conway Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Lonoke's history begins with the advance of Union troops through Central Arkansas during the American Civil War. The town of Brownsville was burned to the ground by Union forces after the retreat of Confederate forces westward to Little Rock. After the war, it was decided by the city leaders of Brownsville that a new town should be formed by the nearby railroad so that those who wished to stay could do so.
According to local legend, the town was named for a large red oak tree that was found while trees were being chopped down in order to build houses. The official name of the city was originally Lone Oak. However, due to a misprint in the Lonoke Democrat newspaper, the town's name was printed as Lonoak. Eventually, this misspelling became further misspelled as Lonoke.
Enroll in the Ideal Physical Therapist School near Lonoke AR
Selecting the ideal physical therapy school is a necessary initial decision you need to make to launch a rewarding career in the health care profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you choose should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are additional relevant questions that you should ask regarding your college of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist school, keep in mind that a number of variables will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You might want to go to each of the schools to view their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school 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 proper training and education, you can achieve your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Lonoke AR.
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