How to Find the Right Physical Therapy Program near Fairfield 94533
Obtaining a physical therapy degree near Fairfield CA is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated due to illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the necessary education and training. A PT must additionally become 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 investigate the ones you are looking at to make certain they will furnish a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is choose a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be considered along with 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 work in varying settings, including Fairfield 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 stated, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they create a program of treatment to address the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Fairfield CA health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapy degrees available for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are brief descriptions of degree levels that are offered in the Fairfield CA area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often made available by community or junior colleges, and require 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a portion of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist education to prepare students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take four years to finish and commonly include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement in order to become a licensed practicing 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 total commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an essential element in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment 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 phased out and is no longer available in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Schools Online
While not as common as the on campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapist programs available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure 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 nearby an available internship. However, the online portion of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Fairfield CA residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition can be significantly less than similar on-campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
By now you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning some of your preliminary questions, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you want to attain, 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 Fairfield CA area and across California, you’ll have to research additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Furthermore, you want to make certain that you pick the college that is right for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Find out if the schools you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. 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 choose an online school, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact several Fairfield CA physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your program options. It may also be a good idea to check with the California Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of important statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapist colleges you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Fairfield CA area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also verifies that the college has a large network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the program you choose provides both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements 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) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the physical therapy colleges you are interested in have associations with Fairfield CA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional connections in the Fairfield healthcare community and help with job placement once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapist school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Fairfield CA home. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT schools provide some form of financial support to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department and find out what kind of assistance is obtainable. They at least 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 program because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapist program you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fairfield CA area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Fairfield California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Fairfield CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Fairfield is a city in, and the county seat of, Solano County, California, in the North Bay sub-region of the San Francisco Bay Area. It is generally considered the midpoint between the cities of San Francisco and Sacramento, approximately 40 miles (64 km) from the city center of both cities, approximately 40 miles (64 km) from the city center of Oakland, less than 19 miles (31 km) from Napa Valley, 16 miles (26 km) from the Carquinez Bridge, and 14 miles (23 km) from the Benicia Bridge. Fairfield was founded in 1856 by clippership captain Robert H. Waterman, and named after his former hometown of Fairfield, Connecticut.
It is the home of Travis Air Force Base and the headquarters of Jelly Belly. With a population of 108,321 at the 2010 census, it is slightly smaller in population than Vallejo. Other nearby cities include Suisun City, Vacaville, Rio Vista, Benicia, and Napa.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 37.6 square miles (97 km2), of which, 34.4 square miles (89 km2) of it is land and 3.2 square miles (8.3 km2) of it is water. The total area is 5.65% water.
Pick the Best Physical Therapist College near Fairfield CA
Choosing the ideal physical therapy school is an important initial decision you must make to start a gratifying career in the healthcare profession. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you enroll in should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. However there are other critical questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapy college, bear in mind that numerous variables will lead you toward your final decision. You may decide to visit each of the colleges to see their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the ideal selection. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Fairfield CA.
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