How to Choose a Physical Therapist Program near El Cajon 92019
Receiving a physical therapy degree near El Cajon CA is an essential first step to starting a rewarding career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated due to injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the appropriate training and education. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to investigate those you are considering to make sure they will supply a superior education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be evaluated besides 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 Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists practice in diverse settings, such as El Cajon CA hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a program of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other El Cajon CA health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, 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 Therapy Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapy degrees available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief summaries of degrees that are available in the El Cajon CA area:
- Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are typically offered by community colleges, and require 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a component of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy training to ready candidates to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they generally take four years to complete and commonly incorporate 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 complete, making the total commitment seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an important element in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in some 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 United States. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Colleges 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 nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the program may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s El Cajon CA residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition can be somewhat less than similar on-campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
By now you probably have come to decision concerning some of your initial queries, like the type of physical therapy degree you intend to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the El Cajon CA area and across California, you’ll have to research additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school choices. Moreover, you need to make sure that you select the college that is ideal for you. That’s why we have put together a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Find out if the schools you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree 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 imperative that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can research a PT program’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 organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with some El Cajon CA physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your program options. It may also be prudent to contact the California Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two significant statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapy programs you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the El Cajon CA area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even outstanding. It also verifies that the program has a large network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the college you enroll in provides both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing have relationships with El Cajon CA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the El Cajon medical community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their El Cajon CA home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern 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 decide to enroll in a college 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 commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? The majority of DPT colleges provide some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance department and see what type of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapy program you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the El Cajon CA area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check 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 due to illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near El Cajon California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the El Cajon CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
El Cajon, California
El Cajon (/ɛlkəˈhoʊn/; Spanish: [elkaˈxon]) is a city in San Diego County, California, United States, 17 mi (27 km) east of Downtown San Diego. The city, located in a valley surrounded by mountains, has acquired the nickname of "The Big Box." Its name originated similarly, from the Spanish phrase "el cajón," which means "the box" or "the drawer."
El Cajon, Spanish for "the big box," was first recorded on September 10, 1821, as an alternative name for sitio rancho Santa Mónica to describe the "boxed in" nature of the valley in which it sat. The name appeared on maps in 1873 and 1875, shortened to "Cajon," until the modern town developed in which the post office was named "El Cajon."
El Cajon is located at 32°47′54″N 116°57′36″W / 32.79833°N 116.96000°W / 32.79833; -116.96000 (32.798300, -116.960055). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.4 square miles (37 km2), all land. It is bordered by San Diego and La Mesa on the west, Spring Valley on the south, Santee on the north, and unincorporated San Diego County on the east. It includes the neighborhoods of Fletcher Hills, Bostonia, and Rancho San Diego.
Enroll in the Right Physical Therapy Degree Program near El Cajon CA
Selecting the right physical therapist school is a necessary first decision you need to make to start a fulfilling career in the health care profession. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you choose should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are other relevant questions that you should ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapist school, keep in mind that a number of factors will lead you toward your final decision. You might want to visit different campuses to see their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me achieve 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 choice. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in El Cajon CA.
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