How to Choose a Physical Therapy Degree Program near El Sobrante 94803
Receiving a physical therapy degree near El Sobrante CA is an essential first step to launching a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated due to injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the necessary training and education. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate those you are considering to ensure they will supply a superior education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is select a college just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be evaluated along with cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of locations, such as El Sobrante CA private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other El Sobrante CA medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
There are 3 physical therapist degree options offered for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either preparing 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 El Sobrante CA area:
- Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically made available by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy education to prepare candidates to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take 4 years to finish 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 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 total investment of time seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal component in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not just for graduation but in a number of states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer attainable in the USA. A number of practicing physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing requirement 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 therapist programs offered, 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 necessitates that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online portion of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s El Sobrante CA home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat less than similar on campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring 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.
What to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
By now you most likely have come to decision regarding some of your preliminary queries, including the type of physical therapist degree you would like 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 El Sobrante CA area and throughout California, you’ll need to explore other qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of school options. Also, you want to be sure that you choose the school that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As previously 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 obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple 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 search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Get in touch with several El Sobrante CA physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your college options. It may also be a good idea to contact the California Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapy programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the El Sobrante CA area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even outstanding. It also affirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the program you enroll in furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements 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 college. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the physical therapy schools you are interested in have relationships with El Sobrante CA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the El Sobrante medical community and assist with job placement after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some 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 therapist college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their El Sobrante CA residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? The majority of DPT colleges offer some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and see what type of aid is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapy school you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the El Sobrante CA area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near El Sobrante California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the El Sobrante CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
El Sobrante, California
El Sobrante (Spanish for "surplus" or "remaining land"; Spanish: [el so.ˈβran.te]) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Contra Costa County, California, United States. The population was 12,669 at the 2010 census.
El Sobrante is unincorporated and lies within Contra Costa County. Main roads include San Pablo Dam Road (a major road running from Richmond and San Pablo, through El Sobrante, past EBMUD's San Pablo Reservoir), Valley View Road and Appian Way. San Pablo Dam Road and Appian Way both connect to Interstate 80 to the west.
Between 5000 and 1000 BC, an indigenous tribe of people called the Huichin, an Ohlone people, came to the East Bay, including El Sobrante. One of the Huichin villages was located where the El Sobrante Library now stands. The Huichin left a now-buried shell mound beside San Pablo Creek.
Enroll in the Best Physical Therapy School near El Sobrante CA
Choosing the best physical therapist program is a necessary first decision you must make to begin a rewarding career in the healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you pick should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. However there are additional relevant questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist college, keep in mind that numerous variables will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You might want to visit each of the campuses to view 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 following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the best choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in El Sobrante CA.
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