How to Find the Right Physical Therapy School near Springdale 72762
Earning a physical therapist degree near Springdale AR is an essential first step to starting a fulfilling career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled due to injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the proper education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research those you are looking at to make sure they will furnish a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is enroll in a school just 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 evaluated in addition to cost and location. 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 Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists practice in varying settings, including Springdale AR private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they create a course of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Springdale AR health 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. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are three physical therapy degrees offered for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is attainable to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief descriptions of degree levels that are available in the Springdale AR area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are usually made available by community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually part of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training to prepare students to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically take four years to complete and commonly include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to finish, making the overall investment of time 7 years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal component along with the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not just 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 attainable in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Colleges
While not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs 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 near the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online portion of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Springdale AR home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition might be significantly lower than similar on campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
At this point you probably have come to decision concerning a few of your preliminary questions, like the kind of physical therapist degree you intend to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Springdale AR area and across Arkansas, you’ll need 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 choose the school that is ideal for you. That’s why we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Find out if the programs you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national 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 select an online program, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT school’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call a few Springdale AR physical therapy clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your program options. It may 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 colleges.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of useful statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once 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 Springdale AR area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also confirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you select provides both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria 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) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the physical therapist programs you are interested in have partnerships with Springdale AR hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Springdale health care community and assist with job placement after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapist school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Springdale AR residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? The majority of DPT colleges supply some form of financial support to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department and find out what type of help is offered. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapy school you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Springdale AR area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Springdale Arkansas?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Springdale AR area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Springdale is the fourth-largest city in Arkansas, United States. It is located in both Washington and Benton counties in Northwest Arkansas. Located on the Springfield Plateau deep in the Ozark Mountains, Springdale has long been an important industrial city for the region. In addition to several trucking companies, the city is home to the world headquarters of Tyson Foods, the world's largest meat producing company. Originally named Shiloh, the city changed its name to Springdale when applying for a post office in 1872. The four-county Northwest Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area is ranked 109th in terms of population in the United States with 463,204 in 2010 according to the United States Census Bureau. The city had a population of 69,797 at the 2010 Census.
Springdale has been experiencing a population boom in recent years, as indicated by a 133% growth in population between the 1990 and 2010 censuses. During this period of rapid growth, the city has seen a new Shiloh Museum of Ozark History, the establishment of a Springdale campus of Northwest Arkansas Community College and the Northwest Arkansas Naturals minor league baseball team move into Arvest Ballpark. Tyson remains the city's top employer, and is visible throughout the city. Many public features bear the Tyson name, including the Randal Tyson Recreational Complex, Don Tyson Parkway, Helen Tyson Middle School, John Tyson Elementary and Don Tyson School of Innovation. Governor Mike Beebe signed an act into law recognizing Springdale as "The Poultry Capital Of The World" in 2013.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 108.9 square miles (282 km2), of which, 108.3 square miles (280 km2) of it is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2) of it, or 0.62%, is water. The city limits extend north into southern Benton County. Springdale is bordered by the cities of Cave Springs, Lowell, and Bethel Heights to the north, by Elm Springs and Tontitown to the west, and by Johnson and Fayetteville to the south.
Choose the Best Physical Therapy Training Program near Springdale AR
Choosing the best physical therapy program is a necessary first decision you have to make to start a rewarding career in the healthcare profession. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you decide on should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However 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 therapist school, keep in mind that a number of variables will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You might want to go to different campuses to see their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me realize my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the right choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Springdale AR.
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