Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – Fairfax CA

How to Enroll In a Physical Therapist Degree Program near Fairfax 94930

Fairfax CA physical therapy school student with volunteerObtaining a physical therapist degree near Fairfax CA is an essential first step to starting a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled due to illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the necessary education and training. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to research those you are thinking about to ensure they will deliver a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is select a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated in addition to location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.

What Does a Physical Therapist Do?

Fairfax CA physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists practice in a variety of settings, including Fairfax 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 mentioned, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to address the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also strive to prevent any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Head injuries.
  • Cardiac arrest.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
  • Fire injuries.
  • Hip Replacement.
  • Sciatica.
  • Cerebral Palsy.

Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Fairfax CA medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degree Options

Fairfax CA physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are three physical therapist degree options available for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the one degree that is available to practice as 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 short descriptions of degrees that are available in the Fairfax CA area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are usually made available by community or junior colleges, and require 2 years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a component of the course of study.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to ready candidates to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they normally require four years to finish and usually include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are a requirement if you want to become a practicing licensed 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 three years to complete, making the overall investment of time 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal element along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in a number of 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 eliminated and is no longer attainable in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapy Colleges Online

woman attending physical therapy school online in Fairfax CAWhile not as common as the more traditional options, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online segment of the program may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Fairfax CA residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat less than similar on-campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.

Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Programs

At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning a few of your preliminary questions, like the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Fairfax CA area and across California, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of school options. Moreover, you need to make certain that you pick the school that is right for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited?  Find out if the schools you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously 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 select an online school, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the School’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact some Fairfax CA physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your program 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 colleges.

What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapy schools you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students left because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Fairfax CA area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also affirms that the school has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the college you enroll in provides both exceptional training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria for California or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. Although licensing requirements vary 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 supplemental exams.

Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing have partnerships with Fairfax CA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Fairfax healthcare community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.

Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Fairfax CA home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local 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 perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.

Is Financial Support Offered? Most DPT schools provide some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Find out if the schools you are considering have a financial assistance department and see what type of help is available. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid may be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapy program you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fairfax CA area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Fairfax California?

If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Fairfax CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.

Fairfax Financial

Fairfax Financial is a financial holding company based in Toronto, Ontario, which is engaged in property, casualty, and life insurance and reinsurance, investment management, and insurance claims management. The company operates primarily through several subsidiaries, including Odyssey Re, Northbridge Financial, Crum & Forster and Zenith Insurance Company.

Fairfax was incorporated as Markel Service of Canada on March 13, 1951, and continued under the Canada Business Corporations Act in 1976. The name was subsequently changed to Markel Financial Holdings Ltd.

In 1984, Prem Watsa left GW Asset Management to found his own asset management firm, Hamblin Watsa Investment Counsel Ltd. together with his former boss from Confed, Tony Hamblin. Tony was the Chief Investment Officer at Confed. The five founding partners were: Tony Hamblin, Prem Watsa, Roger Lace, Brian Bradstreet and Frances Burke.

Choose the Best Physical Therapist Degree Program near Fairfax CA

Deciding on the best physical therapy program is a necessary first decision you have to make to begin a gratifying career in the healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you decide on should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. However there are other critical questions that you should ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapy school, keep in mind that many factors will guide you to your ultimate decision. You might want to go to each of the schools to view their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the ideal choice. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Fairfax CA.

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    Essential Balance Physical Therapy
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