How to Choose a Physical Therapy College near Concord 94518
Getting a physical therapist degree near Concord CA is an essential first step to starting a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated as a result of injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate those you are considering to ensure they will deliver a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is choose a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be considered besides cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists work in diverse locations, including Concord CA hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they create a program of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also strive to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Concord CA health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Offered
There are three physical therapist degrees offered for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief explanations of degree levels that are offered in the Concord CA area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically made available by community colleges, and require two 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 ready students to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they generally take 4 years to complete and usually incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program must also be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the total investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential component along with the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not solely 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 offered in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists holding 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 Degrees Online
Although not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapist programs available, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the course of study can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Concord CA home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition might be significantly lower than comparable on-campus options, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning a few of your initial questions, like the kind of physical therapist degree you intend to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Concord CA area and throughout California, you’ll need to look into additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college choices. Moreover, you want to make certain that you choose the college that is best for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions before making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Find out if the schools you are looking at have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As earlier mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online program, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with some Concord CA physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your school options. It might also be prudent to check with the California Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of relevant 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 mean that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Concord CA area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps excellent. It also affirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you enroll in furnishes both superior training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements 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) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapist schools you are interested in have relationships with Concord CA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Concord healthcare community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class 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 therapy colleges you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Concord CA home. Students 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 importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? The majority of DPT schools provide some type of financial support to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are considering have a financial aid office and see what type of aid is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapist school you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Concord CA area, make sure that they are available. 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, find out 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 Concord California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Concord CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Concord (/ˈkɒŋkərd/ KON-kord) is the largest city in Contra Costa County, California. At the 2010 census, the city had a population of 122,067 making it the 8th largest city in the San Francisco Bay Area. Founded in 1869 as the community of Todos Santos by Salvio Pacheco, the name was changed to Concord within months. The city is a major regional suburban East Bay center within the San Francisco Bay Area, and is 29 miles (47 kilometres) east of San Francisco.
Concord is located at 37°58′41″N 122°01′52″W / 37.97806°N 122.03111°W / 37.97806; -122.03111. It is 29 miles (47 kilometres) northeast of San Francisco, 22 miles (35 km) northeast from Oakland, 65 miles (105 km) southwest of Sacramento, and 51 miles (82 km) north of San Jose.
The focal point of downtown Concord is Todo Santos Plaza, which encompasses an entire city block and is known for its farmers market, free summer concerts, and large number of surrounding restaurants. Much of the area immediately around downtown has recently been redeveloped, with new high-density apartment and condominium projects to take advantage of the proximity to public transportation and to the area surrounding the park. Despite this, some crime and homelessness remain issues in the downtown area.
Choose the Best Physical Therapist Training Program near Concord CA
Deciding on the ideal physical therapy college is a necessary initial decision you must make to begin a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you enroll in should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. But there are additional relevant questions that you should ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapy school, bear in mind that many variables will guide you toward your final decision. You may want to go to each of the campuses to view their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me reach my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the best selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Concord CA.
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