Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – Avenal CA

How to Choose a Physical Therapy Degree Program near Avenal 93204

Avenal CA physical therapy school student with volunteerEarning a physical therapy degree near Avenal CA is an essential first step to starting a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated as a result of illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the appropriate training and education. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to research the ones you are considering to ensure they will provide a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other important qualifications that must 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 what the educational options are.

What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?

Avenal CA physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists work in diverse locations, including Avenal CA hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they develop a program of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Strokes.
  • Heart attacks.
  • Sports injuries.
  • Fire injuries.
  • Hip Replacement.
  • Sciatica.
  • Multiple Sclerosis.

Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Avenal CA health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees

Avenal CA physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are three physical therapy degrees available for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short explanations of degree levels that are available in the Avenal CA area:

  • Associate Degrees educate students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are usually offered by junior or community colleges, and take about two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a component of the course of study.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to ready students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they generally take 4 years to complete 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 three years to finish, making the total commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an important component in addition to the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in a number of states for licensing as well.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer available in the USA. A number of practicing physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapist Online Colleges

woman attending physical therapy school online in Avenal CAWhile not as common as the on-campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online part of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Avenal CA residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat less than similar on campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.

Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Programs

By now you probably have come to decision regarding several of your preliminary queries, such as the type of physical therapy degree you would like to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the Avenal CA area and across California, you’ll need to research additional qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of school choices. Moreover, you want to be sure that you pick the program that is right for you. That’s why we have put together a list of critical 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 selection.

Is the Physical Therapy School 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 enroll in an online college, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy school and program you select are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for getting 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 multiple ways you can investigate a PT program’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact a few Avenal CA physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your college selections. It may also be prudent to check with the California Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.

What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapist colleges you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may 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 assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Avenal CA area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or even exceptional. It also affirms that the college has a broad network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the college you enroll in furnishes both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for California or the state where you will be working. 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 school. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the physical therapy schools you are reviewing have relationships with Avenal CA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to get practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Avenal healthcare community and assist with job placement once licensed.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.

Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Avenal CA residence. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Most DPT schools offer some type of financial support to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid might be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapy program you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Avenal CA area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Avenal California?

If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Avenal CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.

Avenal, California

Avenal is a city in Kings County, California, United States.[6] Avenal is located 35 miles (56 km) southwest of Hanford,[8] at an elevation of 807 ft (246 m).[6] It is part of the Hanford–Corcoran Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA Code 25260), which encompasses all of Kings County. In area, it is the largest city in Kings County. The Zip Code for this community is 93204, and telephone numbers use the sequence (559) 386-XXXX. The population was 15,505 in the 2010 census, which includes inmates at the Avenal State Prison, the first prison actively solicited by a community in the state of California. Many of the remaining residents largely either work at the prison or in the agriculture industry. The prison provides approximately 1,000 jobs to residents. The California Department of Finance estimated that Avenal's population was 13,159 on January 1, 2015.[9] As of that date, Avenal State Prison held 4,165 inmates, which was about 32% of the total population of Avenal.[10] Inmates are counted as city residents by both the United States Census and the California Department of Finance.

The City of Avenal was named by Spanish soldiers and explorers. In Spanish, "avena" means oats, and "avenal" means oatfield. This area was covered with wild oats, "waist high," that looked like golden silk and covered the Kettleman Plains.

Early American settlers arrived in the Kettleman Hills during the 1850s with dreams of raising cattle and farming. Oil, however, would bring fame, fortune and people to the area. Native Americans had always known oil was in the hills, with natural seepage around Coalinga and Tar Canyon. The first Kettleman Hills well was drilled in 1900, followed by countless unproductive efforts.

Select the Right Physical Therapist Degree Program near Avenal CA

Picking the best physical therapy college is a necessary first decision you must make to start a fulfilling career in the medical profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you pick should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. But there are other critical questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapist school, bear in mind that a number of factors will guide you to your ultimate decision. You might want to go to each of the colleges to see their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the proper training and education, you can achieve your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Avenal CA.

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    Louise Audet Physical Therapy
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