How to Select a Physical Therapy Program near Chula Vista 91909
Earning a physical therapy degree near Chula Vista CA is an important first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled due to illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to investigate those you are thinking about to ensure they will provide a quality education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is choose a school just 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 considered along with cost and location. But before we cover 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?
Physical therapists work in a variety of locations, including Chula Vista CA hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to address the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also strive to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Chula Vista CA medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degree Options
There are three physical therapy degrees offered for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are brief summaries of degrees that are available in the Chula Vista CA area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are usually offered by community or junior colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. 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 prep students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they generally take four years to complete and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the overall investment of time 7 years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal element in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in several states for licensing as well.
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 available in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Degrees
Although not as prevalent as the more traditional alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy programs available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the program may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Chula Vista CA home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition may be significantly lower than comparable on-campus options, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
By now you probably have made a decision concerning several of your preliminary questions, including the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are so many PT schools within the Chula Vista CA area and across California, you’ll have to research other qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school choices. Also, you need to make certain that you choose the school that is ideal for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Find out if the programs you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously 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 school, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. 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 rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call several Chula Vista CA physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your school options. It might also be a good idea to contact the California Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist colleges you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Chula Vista CA area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps excellent. It also verifies that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the program you choose provides both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing. 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 program. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the physical therapy schools you are assessing have relationships with Chula Vista CA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to get practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Chula Vista health care community and assist with job placement after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Chula Vista CA home. Students who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Support Provided? Most DPT colleges provide some form of financial aid to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are considering have a financial aid office and find out what type of assistance is offered. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapist program you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Chula Vista CA area, verify 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, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Chula Vista California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Chula Vista CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Chula Vista, California
Chula Vista (/ˌtʃuːlə ˈvɪstə/; Spanish: beautiful view ) is the second largest city in the San Diego metropolitan area, the seventh largest city in Southern California, the fourteenth largest city in the state of California, and the 74th-largest city in the United States. The population was 243,916 as of the 2010 census.
Located just 7.5 miles (12.1 km) from downtown San Diego and 7.5 miles (12.1 km) from the Mexican border in the South Bay region of the metropolitan area, the city is at the center of one of the richest economic and culturally diverse zones in the United States. Chula Vista is so named because of its scenic location between the San Diego Bay and coastal mountain foothills.
Founded in the early 19th century, fast population growth has recently been observed in the city. Located in the city is one of America's few year-round United States Olympic Training centers and popular tourist destinations include Aquatica San Diego, Mattress Firm Amphitheatre, the Chula Vista marina, and the Living Coast Discovery Center.
Enroll in the Right Physical Therapist Degree Program near Chula Vista CA
Deciding on the ideal physical therapist program is a necessary initial decision you must make to start a rewarding career in the health care profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you enroll in should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. But there are additional important questions that you need to ask regarding your college of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist college, keep in mind that many factors will guide you to your ultimate decision. You may want to visit each of the campuses to see their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the right selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Chula Vista CA.
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