How to Choose a Physical Therapy Degree Program near Fresno 93650
Receiving a physical therapy degree near Fresno CA is an important first step to launching a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated due to illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the necessary education and training. A PT must also be licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate those you are considering to make certain they will supply a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is choose a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be evaluated in addition to cost and location. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists work in a variety of locations, such as Fresno CA hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Fresno CA health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often 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 therapist degree options available for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degree levels that are available in the Fresno CA area:
- Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often provided by junior or community colleges, and take about two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to prepare students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically take four years to complete and usually incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the total investment of time 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal component in addition to the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in several 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 United States. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Schools
Although not as common as the on-campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapy 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 necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the curriculum can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Fresno CA residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition might be significantly lower than comparable on campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning some of your preliminary questions, including the type of physical therapy degree you want to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the Fresno CA area and across California, you’ll have to explore additional qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Moreover, you need to make sure that you choose the program that is best for you. That’s why we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are considering. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. 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 school, it can also receive 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. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT college’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Call a few Fresno CA physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your college selections. It may also be prudent 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 Rate? There are a two significant statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy programs you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Fresno CA area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even outstanding. It also affirms that the program has a large network of contacts to help students get internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you select provides both superior training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for California or the state where you will be practicing. 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 program. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are reviewing have associations with Fresno CA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Fresno health care community and help with job placement once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Fresno CA residence. Those 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 importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Support Provided? Most DPT schools supply some type of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are considering have a financial assistance office and see what kind of help is offered. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. Some physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapist program you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Fresno CA area, make certain 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 carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Fresno California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Fresno CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Fresno (/ˈfrɛznoʊ/ FREZ-noh; Spanish for "ash tree") is a city in California, United States, and the county seat of Fresno County. It covers about 112 square miles (290 km2) in the center of the San Joaquin Valley, the southern portion of California's Central Valley.
Named for the abundant ash trees lining the San Joaquin River, Fresno was founded in 1872 as a railway station of the Central Pacific Railroad before it was incorporated in 1885. The city has since become an economic hub of Fresno County and the San Joaquin Valley, with much of the surrounding areas in the Metropolitan Fresno region predominantly tied to large-scale agricultural production.
The population of Fresno grew from a 1960 census population of 134,000 to a 2000 census population of 428,000. With a census-estimated 2017 population of 527,438, Fresno is the fifth-most populous city in California, the most populous city in the Central Valley, the most populous inland city in California, and the 34th-most populous city in the nation.
Select the Best Physical Therapy Training Program near Fresno CA
Deciding on the ideal physical therapist college is a necessary first decision you have to make to begin a rewarding career in the health care profession. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you enroll in should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are other important questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapy school, keep in mind that a number of variables will guide you to your ultimate decision. You might decide to visit each of the schools to view their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me realize my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the best choice. And with the proper training and education, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Fresno CA.
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