How to Enroll In a Physical Therapist Degree Program near Agoura Hills 91301
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Agoura Hills CA is an essential first step to launching a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated due to injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to investigate those you are considering to make certain they will furnish a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated along with 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 Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists practice in diverse settings, such as Agoura Hills CA hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to address the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Agoura Hills CA medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to take note of for anyone considering entering the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Available
There are three physical therapy degree options offered for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is available to become 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 summaries of degrees that are offered in the Agoura Hills CA area:
- Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are most often offered by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically part of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to prepare candidates to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally require four years to complete and usually 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 also must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to complete, making the overall investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an important element in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment 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 offered in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Programs Online
While not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs available, even more 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 necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online segment of the course of study can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Agoura Hills CA residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat lower than similar 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 advantages may make the online option the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
At this point you probably have come to decision concerning a few of your preliminary queries, like the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Agoura Hills CA area and throughout California, you’ll need to research additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Also, you need to make sure that you enroll in the college that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are thinking about. Ask each of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As earlier stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you enroll in an online college, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT school’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with several Agoura Hills CA physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your college options. It may also be a good idea to contact the California Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two useful statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Agoura Hills CA area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even excellent. It also verifies that the program has a large network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you select provides both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapist colleges you are assessing have associations with Agoura Hills CA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Agoura Hills health care community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are researching what the typical teacher to student 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 a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Agoura Hills CA residence. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? The majority of DPT schools offer some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance department and find out what kind of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapy college you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Agoura Hills CA area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Agoura Hills California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Agoura Hills CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Agoura Hills, California
Agoura Hills (/əˈɡɒrə/ ( listen)) is a city in Los Angeles County, California. Its population was estimated to be at 20,843 in 2014, up from 20,537 at the 2000 census. It is in the eastern Conejo Valley between the Simi Hills and the Santa Monica Mountains. The city is on the border between the county of Los Angeles to the east and south, and Ventura County to the north and west. It is about 30 miles (48 km) northwest of Downtown Los Angeles and less than 10 miles (16 km) west of the Los Angeles city limits (Woodland Hills). Agoura Hills and unincorporated Agoura sit next to Calabasas, Oak Park, and Westlake Village.
The area was first settled by the Chumash Native Americans around 10,000 years ago. As the Alta California (Upper California) coast was settled by Spanish Franciscan missionaries in the late 18th century, the El Camino Real (the Royal Road or King's Highway), a road from Loreto, Baja California, Mexico to Sonoma, California, and connecting the Spanish missions in California, was established through the heart of what would later be known as Agoura Hills.
In about 1800, Miguel Ortega was granted a Spanish grazing concession called Rancho Las Virgenes or El Rancho de Nuestra Señora La Reina de Las Virgenes. The grant was abandoned after Ortega's death in 1810, and José Maria Dominguez was given Rancho Las Virgenes as a Mexican land grant in 1834. Maria Antonia Machado de Reyes purchased the rancho from Dominguez in 1845. (The "Reyes Adobe" ranch headquarters sits today in central Agoura Hills, where it is part of the Reyes Adobe Museum built around 2004 and owned by the Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation Department.)
Choose the Right Physical Therapist Training Program near Agoura Hills CA
Deciding on the right physical therapy program is an important initial decision you must make to begin a gratifying career in the healthcare profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you choose should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are additional important questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist program, keep in mind that many variables will guide you to your final decision. You might decide to go to each of the schools to view their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program 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 options so you can make the ideal choice. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Agoura Hills CA.
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