How to Find the Right Physical Therapy Degree Program near Van Buren 72956
Receiving a physical therapy degree near Van Buren AR is a critical first step to launching a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated due to illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to investigate those you are considering to ensure they will furnish a quality 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 closest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated in addition to cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists work in diverse settings, such as Van Buren 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 touched on, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they design a program of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Van Buren AR medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are three physical therapist degrees available for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief descriptions of degrees that are available in the Van Buren AR area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or can 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 programs are typically provided by community or junior colleges, and require two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually part of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to prep candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take 4 years to finish and commonly include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required in order 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 complete, making the total commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an important element in addition to the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not only 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 available in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Programs
Although not as prevalent as the more traditional alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs 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 in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Van Buren AR residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat lower than comparable on-campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
By now you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding several of your preliminary questions, including the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the Van Buren AR area and across Arkansas, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of school options. Moreover, you need to be sure that you pick the college that is ideal for you. That’s why we have collected a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapy colleges you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. 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 obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact several Van Buren AR physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your program selections. It may also be prudent 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 Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two significant statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapy programs you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest that students left because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Van Buren AR area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps excellent. It also verifies that the college 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 important that the program you enroll in provides both superior training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the physical therapist colleges you are assessing have relationships with Van Buren AR hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students establish professional connections in the Van Buren medical community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Van Buren AR residence. Individuals who have chosen 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 importance. One thing 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 be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Most DPT schools provide some type of financial support to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department and find out what kind of aid is available. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapy 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 need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Van Buren AR area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Van Buren Arkansas?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Van Buren AR area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Van Buren, Arkansas
Van Buren /væn ˈbjʊərən/ is the second largest city in the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area and the county seat of Crawford County, Arkansas, United States. The city is located directly northeast of Fort Smith at the Interstate 40 - Interstate 540 junction. The city was incorporated in 1845 and as of the 2010 census had a population of 22,791, ranking it as the state's 22nd largest city, behind Searcy.
The area was settled by David Boyd and Thomas Martin in 1818. After Arkansas became a territory in 1819 Daniel and Thomas Phillips constructed a lumber yard in the community to serve as a fuel depot for traffic along the Arkansas River. In 1831 a post office was constructed for the community, at the time known as Phillips Landing. This post office was named after the newly appointed Secretary of State, Martin Van Buren.
John Drennen, along with his partner David Thompson, purchased the area for US$11,000. They moved their business of supplying firewood for steamboats to this new location on higher ground. The courthouse was constructed on a lot of land donated by Drennen on the condition that Van Buren become the county seat. The Drennen Reserve is one of the town's existing historical sites from the 1830s.
Select the Ideal Physical Therapy Training Program near Van Buren AR
Deciding on the right physical therapist program is a necessary first decision you need to make to start a fulfilling career in the health care profession. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you enroll in should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. However there are other critical questions that you should ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapy school, keep in mind that many factors will lead you toward your final decision. You may decide to visit each of the campuses to see their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the best choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Van Buren AR.
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