Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – Russellville AR

How to Enroll In a Physical Therapy School near Russellville 72801

Russellville AR physical therapy school student with volunteerGetting a physical therapist degree near Russellville AR is an essential first step to launching a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled due to illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the proper training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to evaluate the ones you are considering to make sure they will furnish a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is enroll in a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be considered besides location and cost. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.

What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?

Russellville AR physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists work in a variety of settings, such as Russellville AR hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Head injuries.
  • Cardiac arrest.
  • Sports injuries.
  • Fire injuries.
  • Hip Replacement.
  • Sciatica.
  • Multiple Sclerosis.

Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Russellville AR health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also manage several 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 field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degree Options

Russellville AR physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are 3 physical therapist degree options offered for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is available 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 progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief descriptions of degree levels that are available in the Russellville AR area:

  • Associate Degrees prepare 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 be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually offered by community or junior colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually part of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy education to prepare candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they generally require 4 years to complete and commonly include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are a requirement in order 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 3 years to complete, making the total commitment 7 years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential component along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in several 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 attainable in the United States. A number of practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapist Online Colleges

woman attending physical therapy school online in Russellville ARWhile not as common as the more traditional options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online part of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Russellville AR home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition might be significantly lower than similar on campus options, 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 alternative the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.

Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Schools

By now you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding some of your initial queries, such as the type of physical therapy degree you would like to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the Russellville AR area and across Arkansas, you’ll need to look into other qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Moreover, you need to make certain that you enroll in the college that is right for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited?  Find out if the schools you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously mentioned, 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 school, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the Program’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT program’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call a few Russellville AR physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your school options. It may also be prudent to contact the Arkansas Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist programs you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Russellville AR area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even outstanding. It also confirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the college 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 every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapy programs you are interested in have relationships with Russellville AR hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Russellville health care community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.

Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Russellville AR residence. Those who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Most DPT schools supply some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Ask if the colleges you are examining have a financial aid office and find out what kind of aid is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. Some physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial aid might be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapist college you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Russellville AR area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Russellville Arkansas?

If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Russellville AR area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.

Russellville, Arkansas

Russellville is the county seat and largest city in Pope County, Arkansas, United States, with a population of 27,920, according to the 2010 Census. It is home to Arkansas Tech University and Arkansas Nuclear One, Arkansas' only nuclear power plant. Russellville borders Lake Dardanelle and the Arkansas River.

Before the town was named Russellville, it was known as Chactas Prairie, The Prairie, or Cactus Flats. In the early 19th century, Osage from Missouri hunted frequently in the valley where Russellville is located. Between 1818 and 1828, the area was within a Cherokee reservation, but after 1828 the Cherokee were removed to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma), and the land became available for white settlement. The first settler in the area was P.C. Holledger in 1834.

One year later, Dr. Thomas Russell[4] bought Holledger's house. The first business to be established in the town was owned by Mr. Shinn, who later built a masonry structure to replace his wooden store in 1875. This building still exists today, and is known as the Shinn Building. It was built at the intersection of an east-west road from Little Rock to Fort Smith and a north-south buffalo trail to a ford on the Arkansas River. Early travelers used these established trails to pass through the valley. When the town's residents decided to name the town, it came down to two choices: Shinnville or Russellville, and Russellville won.

Enroll in the Ideal Physical Therapy School near Russellville AR

Choosing the best physical therapist program is an important first decision you must make to launch a fulfilling career in the health care field. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you choose should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are additional critical questions that you should ask regarding your college of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist school, bear in mind that a number of factors will lead you to your final decision. You may want to visit each of the schools to view their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me achieve my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the right selection. And with the proper education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Russellville AR.

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