How to Find the Right Physical Therapy School near Calabasas 91302
Obtaining a physical therapy degree near Calabasas CA is a critical first step to launching a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated due to injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the necessary education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate the ones you are looking at to ensure they will provide a superior education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be considered in addition to location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of settings, such as Calabasas CA private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a program of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Calabasas CA health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
There are 3 physical therapist degrees available for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single 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 prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short summaries of degrees that are available in the Calabasas CA area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually made available by junior or community colleges, and require two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a portion of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to prepare students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally require four years to finish and often incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required in order to become a licensed practicing 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 three years to finish, making the total commitment seven years in most cases. Clinical training is an intregal component along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in a number of states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer offered in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Programs Online
While not as common as the more traditional alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy 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 close to the college 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 Calabasas CA residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition may be significantly less than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
By now you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding several of your initial questions, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Calabasas CA area and throughout California, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college options. Furthermore, you want to make certain that you enroll in the school that is right for you. That’s why we have collected a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are considering. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions prior to making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Find out if the schools you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national 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 select an online program, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can investigate a PT college’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact a few Calabasas CA physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your school options. It may also be a good idea to contact the California Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two important statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy schools you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Calabasas CA area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or even outstanding. It also affirms that the school has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the program you enroll in furnishes both exceptional training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria for California or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the physical therapy programs you are evaluating have relationships with Calabasas CA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Calabasas medical community and assist with job placement after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Calabasas CA home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might 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 live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT schools provide some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial assistance department and see what type of assistance is offered. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapy college you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Calabasas CA area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol 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 Calabasas California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Calabasas CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Calabasas is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States, located in the hills west of the San Fernando Valley and in the northwest Santa Monica Mountains between Woodland Hills, Agoura Hills, West Hills, Hidden Hills, and Malibu, California. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 23,058, up from 20,033 at the 2000 census. The city was formally incorporated in 1991.
It is generally accepted that the name of Calabasas is derived from the Spanish calabaza meaning "pumpkin", "squash", or "gourd" (cf. calabash). Some historians hold the theory that Calabasas is derived from the Chumash word calahoosa which is said to mean "where the wild geese fly." Owing to vast presence of wild squash plants in the area, the squash theory is more prevalent among local residents. At the top of the Calabasas grade, which is east of Las Virgenes Road on the original El Camino Real, legend has it that in 1824, a Basque rancher from Oxnard spilled a wagonload of pumpkins on the road en route to Los Angeles. The following spring, hundreds of pumpkin seeds sprouted alongside the road. The area was named Las Calabasas—the place where the pumpkins fell.
In honor of its namesake, the City of Calabasas and the Calabasas Chamber of Commerce hold an annual Pumpkin Festival in October, including carnival games, exhibits, demonstrations, and live entertainment. The festival has evolved from a small-town fair to a significant annual event. Though the current Pumpkin Festival is held at Juan Bautista de Anza Park in Calabasas, the original festival was believed to have taken place where the traveling wagon carrying pumpkins overturned and started the area's first pumpkin patch.
Pick the Ideal Physical Therapist Degree Program near Calabasas CA
Selecting the right physical therapy school is a necessary initial decision you have to make to start a rewarding career in the medical field. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you choose should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are other important questions that you need to ask regarding your college of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapist college, keep in mind that many variables will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You might decide to go to each of the campuses to view their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me realize my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the right selection. And with the proper education and training, you can accomplish your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Calabasas CA.
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