How to Find the Right Physical Therapist College near Lowell 72745
Getting a physical therapist degree near Lowell AR is an essential first step to starting a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated due to injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the appropriate education and training. A PT must also become licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research the ones you are looking at to make sure they will provide a superior education and meet your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is choose a school 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 evaluated along with location and cost. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in diverse settings, including Lowell AR private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help people 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 address the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also try 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.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Lowell AR medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapist degree options available for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is attainable to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short descriptions of degrees that are offered in the Lowell AR area:
- Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are usually provided by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to prepare students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take four years to finish and commonly 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 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 complete, making the overall investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an important component along with the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not only 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 phased out and is no longer attainable in the USA. Some licensed 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 Programs Online
Although not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapist degrees available, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Lowell AR home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat less than similar on-campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
At this point you most likely have made a decision concerning a few of your initial questions, like the type of physical therapist degree you intend to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the Lowell AR area and across Arkansas, you’ll need to explore other qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college options. Furthermore, you need to make certain that you enroll in the school that is right for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist programs you are considering. Ask all of the potential schools these questions before making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Ask if the programs you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As previously 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 college, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT program’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with some Lowell AR physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your program selections. It might also be prudent to contact the Arkansas 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 relevant statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students dropped out 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 college’s job placement program, particularly in the Lowell AR area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even excellent. It also affirms that the program has a large network of contacts to help students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you choose provides both exceptional training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for Arkansas or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapy colleges you are assessing have partnerships with Lowell AR hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Lowell healthcare community and assist with job placement after licensing.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Lowell AR home. Students who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose 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 generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Support Offered? Most DPT schools supply some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance office and find out what type of assistance is available. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapist college you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Lowell AR area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Lowell Arkansas?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Lowell AR area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Lowell is a city in Benton County, Arkansas, United States. Located within the Ozarks, first settlement was along Old Wire Road in the 1840s, and although destroyed during the Civil War, the community was reestablished by J. H. McClure and thrived when the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway came through the area in the 1880s. Today, the city is a growing bedroom community within the rapidly growing Northwest Arkansas region. Lowell is also home to the headquarters of trucking company J.B. Hunt. Lowell's population was 7,327 at the 2010 census, an increase of 46% since 2000.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Lowell has a total area of 9.2 square miles (23.9 km2), of which 9.2 square miles (23.7 km2) is land and 0.077 square miles (0.2 km2), or 0.68%, is water. Lowell is located in southern Benton County at 36°15′38″N 94°8′22″W / 36.26056°N 94.13944°W / 36.26056; -94.13944 (36.260429, -94.139570). It is bordered by the cities of Springdale and Bethel Heights to the south, Cave Springs to the west and Rogers to the north. 4 miles (6 km) to the east is Beaver Lake, a large reservoir of the White River.
The Fayetteville–Springdale–Rogers Metropolitan Area consists of three Arkansas counties: Benton, Madison, and Washington, and McDonald County, Missouri. The area had a population of 347,045 at the 2000 census which had increased to 463,204 by the 2010 Census (an increase of 33.47 per cent). The area does not consist of the usual principal-city-with-suburbs morphology; instead the four principal cities are all located along Interstate 49 in a linear configuration. Lowell is also located along this corridor, between Springdale and Rogers.
Pick the Ideal Physical Therapy College near Lowell AR
Choosing the ideal physical therapy college is an important first decision you have to make to begin a gratifying career in the health care field. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you decide on should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are additional critical questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapist school, bear in mind that many factors will guide you to your final decision. You might decide to visit different campuses to view their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the right choice. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Lowell AR.
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