How to Pick a Physical Therapist School near La Quinta 92253
Earning a physical therapist degree near La Quinta CA is a critical first step to starting a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the proper education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to research those you are looking at to make sure they will deliver a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is enroll in a college just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be considered along with location and cost. But before we talk about 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 Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in diverse settings, including La Quinta CA hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also strive to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other La Quinta CA health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Offered
There are 3 physical therapist degree options available for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short explanations of degrees that are offered in the La Quinta CA area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are typically made available by community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally part of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to prep candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally take 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 licensed practicing 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 complete, making the overall commitment 7 years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential component in addition to the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not just 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 available in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Schools
While not as common as the more traditional options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so 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 near the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s La Quinta CA home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat less than comparable on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning several of your preliminary queries, including the type of physical therapy degree you would like to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are so many PT colleges within the La Quinta CA area and throughout California, you’ll have to research other qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of college options. Moreover, you want to be 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 need to ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing schools these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Find out if the schools you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. 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 choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT school’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Get in touch with some La Quinta CA physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your school options. It might also be a good idea to contact the California Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. One 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, how many of them are being hired with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the La Quinta CA area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even excellent. It also affirms that the college has a large network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you enroll in furnishes both superior training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for California or the state where you will be practicing. 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. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing have partnerships with La Quinta CA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the La Quinta medical community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their La Quinta CA residence. Students who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT schools supply some form of financial aid to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid office and find out what type of assistance is offered. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. Some physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapist school you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the La Quinta CA area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol 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 La Quinta California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the La Quinta CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
La Quinta, California
La Quinta is a resort city in Riverside County, California, United States, specifically in the Coachella Valley between Indian Wells and Indio. The population was 37,467 at the 2010 census, up from 23,694 at the 2000 census. The Robb Report credits La Quinta as the leading golf destination in the US. Among those destinations is the La Quinta Resort and Club, a resort dating to 1926, where director Frank Capra wrote the screenplay for Lost Horizon. The Tom Fazio-designed golf course at The Quarry at La Quinta is ranked among the top 100 golf courses in the United States. In January 2008, the Arnold Palmer Classic Course at the city's SilverRock Golf Resort became one of the four host golf courses for the annual Bob Hope Chrysler Classic PGA golf tournament.
In the late-19th century and early-20th century (1880–1920), agriculture developed in present-day La Quinta and "East Valley" by pre-modern (mountain water runoff or open water springs) and modern irrigation techniques. At the time, California and federal land surveyors declared the sand dunes uninhabitable, only the hard rock ground of the "Marshall Cove" held potential farming and residential development.
In 1926, Walter Morgan established the La Quinta Resort at the northern section of Marshall Cove as a type of secluded hideaway for nearby Hollywood's celebrities and socialites. The Resort was the site for the Coachella Valley's first golf course, coinciding with the construction and pavement of State Route 111 in the 1930s. Further expansion of Washington Street in the 1950s and 1960s connected La Quinta with US Highways 60 and 99 (became Interstate 10 in the 1970s).
Pick the Ideal Physical Therapy College near La Quinta CA
Selecting the ideal physical therapist college is a necessary first decision you have to make to start a rewarding career in the healthcare profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you pick should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. But there are additional relevant questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapist school, bear in mind that a number of factors will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You may want to visit different colleges to see their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me realize my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the right selection. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in La Quinta CA.
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