How to Choose a Physical Therapy Degree Program near West Memphis 72301
Getting a physical therapist degree near West Memphis AR is an important first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled as a result of injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the appropriate education and training. A PT must also become licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate those you are considering to make sure they will provide a quality education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is select a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated besides 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 what the educational options are.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists work in varying locations, including West Memphis AR private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a program of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other West Memphis AR health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
There are 3 physical therapy degree options available for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short summaries of degree levels that are available in the West Memphis AR area:
- Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may 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 provided by junior or community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a component of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy education to prepare students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally require four years to finish and often include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required 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). 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. Clinical training is an important element in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not solely 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 eliminated and is no longer offered in the USA. A number of practicing physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Degrees
While not as common as the on-campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s West Memphis AR residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition might be significantly lower than comparable on campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
By now you most likely have come to decision concerning several of your preliminary questions, like the type of physical therapist degree you want to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the West Memphis AR area and throughout Arkansas, you’ll have to explore additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school options. Also, you need to make sure that you select the college that is right for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are considering. Ask all of the potential schools these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Find out if the programs you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier 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 enroll in an online college, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can research a PT college’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Get in touch with a few West Memphis AR physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your college selections. It might also be a good idea to contact the Arkansas Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two important statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist colleges you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might mean that students left because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the West Memphis AR area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even excellent. It also verifies that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the program you choose provides both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the physical therapy programs you are reviewing have associations with West Memphis AR clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional connections in the West Memphis health care community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they select will have to be within travelling distance of their West Memphis AR residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide 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 generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Most DPT schools offer some form of financial aid to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid department and find out what kind of assistance is offered. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapist school you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the West Memphis AR area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near West Memphis Arkansas?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the West Memphis AR area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
West Memphis, Arkansas
West Memphis is the largest city in Crittenden County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 26,245 at the 2010 census, ranking it as the state's 18th largest city, behind Bella Vista. It is part of the Memphis metropolitan area, and is located directly across the Mississippi River from Memphis.
Native Americans lived in the Mississippi River Valley for at least 10,000 years, although much of the evidence of their presence has been buried or destroyed. The Indians of the Mississippian Period were the last native inhabitants of the West Memphis area. Mound City Road, located within the eastern portion of the West Memphis city limits, has a marker indicating that the villages of Aquixo (Aquijo) or Pacaha were in the area. Several mounds are still visible.
Explorers from both Spain and France visited the area near West Memphis. Among those explorers were Hernando de Soto and his men from Spain and Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet from France. By the time French hunters and explorers entered the region, the Mississippian towns and other settlements had been abandoned. The original site of West Memphis came from Spanish land grants issued during the 1790s. Grants were given to Benjamin Fooy, John Henry Fooy, and Isaac Fooy in the Hopefield (Crittenden County) area and to William McKenney in the Bridgeport-West Memphis area.
Choose the Best Physical Therapy College near West Memphis AR
Deciding on the best physical therapist program is a necessary first decision you need to make to start a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you select should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are additional critical questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapy school, bear in mind that many variables will guide you to your final decision. You might want to go to each of the schools to view their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me accomplish 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 ideal selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in West Memphis AR.
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