How to Select a Physical Therapy Program near Benicia 94510
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Benicia CA is an essential first step to launching a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated due to illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the necessary education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate the ones you are looking at to make certain they will furnish a quality education and satisfy 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 home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be considered in addition to location and cost. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in diverse settings, such as Benicia CA private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. 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 patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to address the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Benicia CA health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy profession, it is rather 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 Therapist Degrees
There are 3 physical therapy degrees offered for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief summaries of degrees that are offered in the Benicia CA area:
- Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically made available by community or junior colleges, and take about two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually part of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to prepare students to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they generally take four years to finish and commonly include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want to become a practicing licensed physical therapist. The degree program must also be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the total commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential component along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not only 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 available in the USA. A number of licensed 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 implemented.
Physical Therapist Online Degrees
Although not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online part of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Benicia CA home. Online programs 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 expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning several of your initial queries, like the kind of physical therapist degree you want to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Benicia CA area and throughout California, you’ll need to look into additional qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of school choices. Moreover, you need to make certain that you select the school that is best for you. That’s why we have collected a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Find out if the programs you are looking at have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously 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 obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can investigate a PT program’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Call some Benicia CA physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your school options. It might also be a good idea to contact the California Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two important statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapist schools you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest that students left because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Benicia CA area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps excellent. It also verifies that the program has a broad network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the school you select furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for California or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to 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 number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapist schools you are interested in have partnerships with Benicia CA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to get practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional connections in the Benicia healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller 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 final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Benicia CA home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? The majority of DPT colleges offer some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of aid is available. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. Some physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapy college you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Benicia CA area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Benicia California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Benicia CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Benicia (/bəˈniːʃə/ bə-NEE-shə; bə-NI-shə; Spanish pronunciation: [beˈnisja]) is a waterside city in Solano County, California, located in the North Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area. It served as the state capital for nearly thirteen months from 1853 to 1854. The population was 26,997 at the 2010 census. The city is located along the north bank of the Carquinez Strait. Benicia is just east of Vallejo and across the strait from Martinez. Elizabeth Patterson has served as Mayor of Benicia since 2007.
The town is divided into four areas: the East Side (east of First Street), the West Side (west of First Street), Southampton (north of 780), and the industrial park. Most of the town's older homes are on the east and west sides. Southampton contains primarily single-family housing developments and condominiums, most of which were built between 1970 and 2000. The East Side includes the Benicia Arsenal, a former United States Army armory, which was bought by the city and is now used for a variety of purposes, most notably as live-work spaces for artists. The Arsenal is home to several historic (ca. 1860) landmark buildings such as The Clock Tower, the Camel Barn, and the Jefferson Street Mansion. The industrial park lies to the northeast of the residential areas of the city, and includes the Valero oil refinery. The Benicia State Recreation Area is on the far west edge of the city.
The main retail area in Benicia is First Street, which attracts out-of-town antique and boutique shoppers and those seeking small-town, historic charm. In 1987 Benicia was selected to participate in the California Main Street Program.
Pick the Ideal Physical Therapist School near Benicia CA
Choosing the best physical therapy school is a necessary first decision you must make to begin a fulfilling career in the medical field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you choose should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are additional critical questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapy school, keep in mind that a number of factors will lead you toward your final decision. You might want to visit different campuses to view their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the best selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Benicia CA.
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