How to Select a Physical Therapy School near Imperial Beach 91932
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Imperial Beach CA is an essential first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled due to illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the proper education and training. A PT must also become licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to evaluate those you are thinking about to ensure they will provide a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is choose a college just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated in addition to cost and location. But before we cover what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists work in diverse settings, such as Imperial Beach CA private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Imperial Beach CA health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also manage 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 getting into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Available
There are three physical therapy degrees available for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is attainable to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short summaries of degrees that are offered in the Imperial Beach CA area:
- Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically offered by community or junior colleges, and require 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist training to prepare candidates to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally require 4 years to complete and often include an internship program of at least 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 three years to finish, making the total investment of time 7 years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal component in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in some states for licensing as well.
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 offered in the USA. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Online Schools
While not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online portion of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Imperial Beach CA home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat less than similar on-campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
By now you most likely have come to decision concerning several of your preliminary questions, including the kind of physical therapist degree you would like 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 Imperial Beach CA area and throughout California, you’ll need to research additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school options. Moreover, you want to make sure that you choose the program that is ideal for you. That’s why we have put together a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential schools these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Ask if the programs you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As earlier mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you select an online school, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy school and program you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of 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 check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call some Imperial Beach 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 school options. It may also be prudent to check with the California Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students left because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Imperial Beach CA area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even excellent. It also affirms that the school 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 essential that the college you choose furnishes both superior training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria for California or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the physical therapy schools you are interested in have associations with Imperial Beach CA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Imperial Beach health care community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. 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 select will have to be within driving distance of their Imperial Beach CA home. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble 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 school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Most DPT schools supply some type of financial aid to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance office and see what type of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapy school you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Imperial Beach CA area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out 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 as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Imperial Beach California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Imperial Beach CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Imperial Beach, California
Imperial Beach is a residential beach city in San Diego County, California, with a population of 26,324 at the 2010 census. The city is the southernmost city in California and the West Coast of the United States. It is in the South Bay area of San Diego County, 14.1 miles (22.7 km) south of downtown San Diego and 5 miles (8.0 km) northwest of downtown Tijuana, Mexico.
Imperial Beach is located at 32°34′42″N 117°7′2″W / 32.57833°N 117.11722°W / 32.57833; -117.11722 (32.578255, -117.117111) making it the most southwesterly city in the continental United States. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.5 square miles (12 km2). 4.2 square miles (11 km2) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2) of it (7.22%) is water. The city occupies the extreme southwest corner of the continental United States: bordered by Tijuana, Mexico to the south, Coronado, California and the San Diego Bay to the north, San Diego to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west.
Imperial Beach is located in San Diego County, the fifth most-populous county in the United States and part of the San Diego Metropolitan Area, the 17th largest metropolitan area in the United States with over 3 million people. It is also part of the San Diego – Tijuana metropolitan area, the largest bi-national metropolitan area shared between the United States and Mexico with over 5 million people.
Enroll in the Best Physical Therapist Degree Program near Imperial Beach CA
Choosing the best physical therapist college is an important initial decision you have to make to begin a fulfilling career in the healthcare 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 accreditation. However there are additional relevant questions that you need to ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapy college, bear in mind that many factors will guide you to your ultimate decision. You might want to visit different campuses to view their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Imperial Beach CA.
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