How to Choose a Physical Therapy College near Norman 71960
Earning a physical therapist degree near Norman AR is an essential first step to launching a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled due to illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate those you are looking at to make certain they will furnish a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is select a college just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be evaluated along with location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists practice in diverse settings, such as Norman AR private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, 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 design a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also strive to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Norman AR health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapist degree options offered for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is available to practice as 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 summaries of degree levels that are available in the Norman AR area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are typically provided by community colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally part of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy education to ready students to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they normally require four years to complete and often incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required if you want to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program must also 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 complete, making the total investment of time 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an important element along with the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not just for graduation but in some states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer offered in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Programs Online
Although not as common as the more traditional options, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Norman AR residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat less than similar on-campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
By now you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding some of your preliminary queries, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you want to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Norman AR area and throughout Arkansas, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college choices. Also, you need to make certain that you enroll in the school that is best for you. That’s why we have collected a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are considering. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are considering have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously mentioned, 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 may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Also, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several ways you can investigate a PT program’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact several Norman AR physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your program selections. It might also be prudent to check with the Arkansas Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two significant statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapy programs you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Norman AR area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also confirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you enroll in provides both exceptional training and a course of study that satisfies 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 therapy college. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are interested in have associations with Norman AR clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Norman healthcare community and help with job placement after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Norman AR home. Students who have opted 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. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? The majority of DPT colleges provide some type of financial aid to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department and find out what type of help is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapist school you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Norman AR area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Norman Arkansas?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Norman AR area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
There is a Caddo Native American burial ground on the southern end of town. It was discovered by city officials, led by then mayor Duane Cox, who protected it with a wooden fence. Recently, descendents of the Caddo added to the site a footpath and benches as well as plaques containing historical information regarding the living habits of Native Americans.
As of the census of 2000, there were 423 people, 190 households, and 117 families residing in the town. The population density was 140.8/km² (364.8/mi²). There were 224 housing units at an average density of 74.6/km² (193.2/mi²). The racial makeup of the town was 94.56% White, 1.42% Native American, 0.95% Asian, 0.95% from other races, and 2.13% from two or more races. 2.84% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 190 households out of which 25.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.1% were married couples living together, 16.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.9% were non-families. 34.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 20.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.84.
Choose the Ideal Physical Therapy School near Norman AR
Choosing the best physical therapist school is an important initial decision you have to make to begin a rewarding career in the health care field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you choose should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. However there are additional relevant questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapy school, keep in mind that a number of factors will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You may want to visit each of the schools to see their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the best selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can achieve your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Norman AR.
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