How to Pick a Physical Therapist Degree Program near Desert Hot Springs 92240
Getting a physical therapist degree near Desert Hot Springs CA is an important first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated as a result of illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the proper education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research the ones you are considering to make sure they will deliver a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is select a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be considered along with cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists practice in varying settings, including Desert Hot Springs CA hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they create a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Desert Hot Springs CA medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
There are three physical therapy degree options available for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize 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 Desert Hot Springs CA area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically offered by community or junior colleges, and take about two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually part of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to ready candidates to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they normally take 4 years to complete and commonly 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). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to finish, making the overall investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an important element along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in several 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 holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Colleges
Although not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapy programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Desert Hot Springs 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 options, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
By now you most likely have come to decision concerning some of your initial queries, like the kind of physical therapy degree you want to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are so many PT colleges within the Desert Hot Springs CA area and across California, you’ll have to research additional qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Furthermore, you need to make sure that you select the program that is right for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national 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 enroll in an online program, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact some Desert Hot Springs CA physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your college options. It might also be a good idea to check with the California Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of useful statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean 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 support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Desert Hot Springs CA area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or even exceptional. It also verifies that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you enroll in provides both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria 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) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the physical therapist schools you are reviewing have associations with Desert Hot Springs CA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to get practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Desert Hot Springs health care community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Desert Hot Springs CA residence. Students who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? Most DPT colleges offer some type of financial aid to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid department and find out what kind of aid is available. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. Some physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapy program you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Desert Hot Springs CA area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Desert Hot Springs California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Desert Hot Springs CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Desert Hot Springs, California
Desert Hot Springs, also known as DHS, is a city in Riverside County, California, United States. The city is located within the Coachella Valley geographic region, sometimes referred to as the Desert Empire. The population was 25,938 at the 2010 census, up from 16,582 at the 2000 census. The city has undergone rapid development and high population growth since the 1970s, when there were 2,700 residents.
It is named for its many natural hot springs. It is one of few places in the world with naturally occurring hot- and cold mineral springs. Desert Hot Springs is home to the largest collection of warm mineral springs in the United States. More than 20 natural mineral spring lodgings can be found in town. Unlike most hot springs, the mineral springs in town are odorless.
The only people residing in areas north of Palm Springs prior to the 20th century was Cahuilla Indians in the village of Seven Palms. Although Cahuilla people never settled permanently in today’s Desert Hot Springs, they often camped here during winter times due to the warm climate.
Select the Ideal Physical Therapist Training Program near Desert Hot Springs CA
Deciding on the ideal physical therapist college is a necessary first decision you have to make to start a rewarding career in the healthcare profession. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you pick should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are other relevant questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapist program, keep in mind that many variables will lead you to your final decision. You may decide to visit different campuses to see their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Desert Hot Springs CA.
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