How to Select a Physical Therapist College near Irvine 92602
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Irvine CA is an essential first step to starting a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated as a result of illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research the ones you are thinking about to make certain they will deliver a superior education and meet your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is select a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be evaluated besides 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 is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of settings, such as Irvine CA hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Irvine CA medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are three physical therapy degree options offered for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degree levels that are offered in the Irvine CA area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are most often offered by community colleges, and take about two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically part of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to prep candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically take 4 years to finish and often incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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 three years to finish, making the total commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an important component along with the extensive 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 replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer offered in the United States. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Colleges Online
While not as common as the more traditional alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the course of study can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Irvine CA home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition may be somewhat lower than similar on-campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
By now you probably have made a decision concerning several of your preliminary questions, including the type of physical therapy degree you intend 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 colleges within the Irvine CA area and across California, you’ll have to research additional qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of school options. Also, you need to make sure that you enroll in the program that is best for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are considering. Ask all of the competing schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Find out if the schools 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 choose an online school, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Also, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can research a PT college’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact some Irvine CA physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your college selections. It might also be prudent to check with the California Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of useful statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapy colleges you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Irvine CA area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even exceptional. It also affirms that the school has a wide network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the college you select furnishes both exceptional training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria 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) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the physical therapy programs you are assessing have partnerships with Irvine CA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Irvine medical community and assist with job placement once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering what the typical 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 converse with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Irvine CA residence. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Support Provided? Most DPT schools provide some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Ask if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid department and find out what type of help is available. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapist college you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Irvine CA area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Irvine California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Irvine CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Irvine (/ˈɜːrvaɪn/) is a master-planned city in Orange County, California, United States. The Irvine Company started developing the area in the 1960s and the city was formally incorporated on December 28, 1971. The 66-square-mile (170 km2) city had a population of 212,375 as of the 2010 census; in 2018 the California Department of Finance estimated the city's population at 276,176.
A number of corporations, particularly in the technology and semiconductor sectors, have their national or international headquarters in Irvine. Irvine is also home to several higher education institutions including the University of California, Irvine (UCI), Concordia University, Irvine Valley College, the Orange County Center of the University of Southern California (USC), and campuses of California State University Fullerton (CSUF), University of La Verne, and Pepperdine University.
The Gabrieleño indigenous group inhabited Irvine about 2,000 years ago. Gaspar de Portolà, a Spanish explorer, came to the area in 1769, which led to the establishment of forts, missions and cattle herds. The King of Spain parceled out land for missions and private use.
Enroll in the Ideal Physical Therapist School near Irvine CA
Picking the right physical therapist college is an important initial decision you have to make to begin a fulfilling career in the medical field. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you enroll in should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. But there are additional critical questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapy program, bear in mind that many factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You may decide to go to each of the campuses to see their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the best choice. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Irvine CA.
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