How to Select a Physical Therapist School near Aliso Viejo 92656
Earning a physical therapy degree near Aliso Viejo CA is an important first step to starting a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated due to illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the proper training and education. A PT must also become licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to evaluate those you are considering to make sure they will deliver a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be evaluated in addition to location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists work in varying settings, such as Aliso Viejo CA private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they create a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Aliso Viejo CA health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone considering entering the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapist degrees available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is attainable to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degree levels that are available in the Aliso Viejo CA area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify 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 typically a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy training to ready candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically take four years to complete and usually incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated in order 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 three years to finish, making the overall commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an important component in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in several 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 attainable in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Online Degrees
While not as prevalent as the more traditional alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs available, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure 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 nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online portion of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Aliso Viejo CA residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition can be significantly lower than comparable on campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
At this point you most likely have made a decision regarding a few of your initial questions, including the kind of physical therapy degree you intend to obtain, 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 Aliso Viejo CA area and across California, you’ll need to research additional qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of college options. Also, you want to make sure that you pick the program that is right for you. That’s why we have collected a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing schools these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Ask if the programs you are reviewing have received 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 choose an online college, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can research a PT school’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Call some Aliso Viejo CA physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your college selections. 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 colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two significant statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy programs you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Aliso Viejo CA area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also confirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment after graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the college you enroll in furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. While licensing requirements fluctuate 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 additional tests.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapy colleges you are evaluating have associations with Aliso Viejo CA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional connections in the Aliso Viejo healthcare community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Aliso Viejo CA residence. Those who have decided to attend classes online obviously 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 keep 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 have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? The majority of DPT colleges offer some form of financial aid to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department and see what type of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapy school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Aliso Viejo CA area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Aliso Viejo California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Aliso Viejo CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Aliso Viejo, California
Aliso Viejo is a city in the San Joaquin Hills of southern Orange County, California. It had a population of 47,823 as of the 2010 census, up from 40,166 as of the 2000 census. It became Orange County's 34th city on July 1, 2001, the only city in Orange County to be incorporated since 2000. It is bordered by the cities of Laguna Beach on the west and southwest, Laguna Hills on the east, Laguna Niguel on the southeast, and Laguna Woods on the north.
The planned community of Aliso Viejo's original 6,600 acres were once part of the 26,000-acre Moulton Ranch, owned by the Moulton family, who took title in the 1890s to land originally granted to Juan Avila by the Mexican government in 1842. Over the years, portions of the ranch were sold and became Leisure World, Laguna Hills and Laguna Niguel. In 1976, the Mission Viejo Company purchased the remaining 6,600 acres to create a new planned community – Aliso Viejo – with a master plan for 20,000 homes for a planned population of 50,000. The master plan was approved by the Orange County in 1979, and homes were first offered for sale in March 1982. Aliso Viejo's first family moved in that November. As part of the project, 2,600 acres were dedicated to Orange County as part of the Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, and 800 acres were set aside for local parks, recreation, schools and community facilities. The Aliso Viejo Community Association (AVCA) was set up to manage the local parks and community open space. It was the first community-wide association of its kind in California and has the unique ability to provide a full-range of community services and facilities.
Aliso Viejo was the first planned community in California to plan a balance between the projected resident work force and the number of projected jobs within its borders. Pacific Park, the centrally located 900-acre business park and town center, was expected to ultimately provide more than 22,000 jobs. Every home in Aliso Viejo was located about 1 1/2 miles from Pacific Park, to encourage live-and-work opportunities.
Pick the Right Physical Therapy Training Program near Aliso Viejo CA
Choosing the best physical therapist college is a necessary first decision you need to make to launch a rewarding career in the medical profession. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you enroll in should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are other important questions that you should ask concerning your school of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapist college, keep in mind that a number of variables will guide you to your final decision. You may want to go to each of the schools to see their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the best choice. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Aliso Viejo CA.
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