How to Enroll In a Physical Therapist College near Dana Point 92629
Getting a physical therapy degree near Dana Point CA is a critical first step to starting a fulfilling career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled as a result of illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the appropriate training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research the ones you are considering to make certain they will deliver a superior education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be considered besides cost and location. But before we discuss 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 Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists practice in diverse settings, such as Dana Point CA private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Dana Point CA health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Offered
There are three physical therapist degree options available for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief descriptions of degree levels that are offered in the Dana Point CA area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or may 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 made available by junior or community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to prep students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take 4 years to finish and often include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement if you want to become a licensed practicing 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 overall commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an essential component along with the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Therefor 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 phased out and is no longer attainable in the United States. A number of practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Degrees
While not as prevalent as the more traditional options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees 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 school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Dana Point CA home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition might be somewhat less than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning a few of your preliminary questions, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you want to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are so many PT colleges within the Dana Point CA area and across California, you’ll have to look into other qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of school choices. Furthermore, you want to be sure that you pick the program that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Find out if the programs you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. 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 can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can research a PT college’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Get in touch with a few Dana Point CA physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your college options. It might also be a good idea to check with 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 Rate? There are a two useful statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Dana Point CA area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also affirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the program you enroll in provides both excellent training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria for California or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are evaluating have relationships with Dana Point CA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to receive practical experience 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 Dana Point medical community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are considering 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 determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Dana Point CA home. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes naturally 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 decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? The majority of DPT colleges supply some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Find out if the colleges you are considering have a financial assistance department and see what kind of aid is available. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapy program you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Dana Point CA area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask 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 Dana Point California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Dana Point CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Dana Point, California
Dana Point is a city located in southern Orange County, California. The population was 33,351 at the 2010 census. It has one of the few harbors along the Orange County coast, and with ready access via State Route 1, it is a popular local destination for surfing.
The city was named after the headland of Dana Point, which was in turn named after Richard Henry Dana, Jr., author of Two Years Before the Mast, which included a description of the area. Dana described the locale, including neighboring San Juan Capistrano, as "the only romantic spot on the coast". Although Dana described the anchorage as poor, it is now a developed harbor and contains a replica of his ship, the Pilgrim. The Pilgrim is used as a classroom by the Ocean Institute, which is located at the harbor. This area is designated California Historical Landmark #189.
Dana Point was a popular port for ships involved with the hide trade with nearby Mission San Juan Capistrano. Trading reached its peak in the 1830s and 1840s. In 1818, Argentine sailor Hippolyte de Bouchard anchored there while conducting his raid on the mission. Richard Henry Dana then visited the area in 1835 while serving aboard the sailing brig Pilgrim on her voyage along the California coastline.
Pick the Ideal Physical Therapist College near Dana Point CA
Picking the ideal physical therapist school is a necessary first decision you must make to begin a rewarding career in the medical field. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you decide on should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. But there are additional important questions that you need to ask regarding your college of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapy program, keep in mind that numerous variables will lead you toward your final decision. You might decide to visit different colleges to see their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me achieve 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 ideal selection. And with the proper education and training, you can accomplish your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Dana Point CA.
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