How to Pick a Physical Therapy School near Laguna Hills 92653
Earning a physical therapist degree near Laguna Hills CA is an essential first step to launching a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled due to illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the necessary education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, 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 necessary to investigate the ones you are looking at to make certain they will supply a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is select a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be evaluated besides cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists work in varying locations, such as Laguna Hills CA private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Laguna Hills CA medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to take note of for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, 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 Therapist Degrees
There are three physical therapist degree options available for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is offered to practice as 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 Laguna Hills CA area:
- Associate Degrees train students to practice as 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 degrees are usually offered by junior or community colleges, and take about two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically part of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy education to prep students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they normally take four years to finish and often include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated in order to become a practicing licensed 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 finish, making the overall commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an important element in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not only 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 eliminated and is no longer available in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Programs Online
While not as common as the on-campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online segment of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Laguna Hills CA residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat lower than comparable on campus alternatives, and expenses 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 alternative the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
By now you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning some of your initial questions, like the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Laguna Hills CA area and throughout California, you’ll have to explore other qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of college options. Furthermore, you need to be sure that you select the college that is best for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are thinking about. Ask each of the competing schools these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Find out if the programs you are reviewing have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As previously mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you select an online school, it may also obtain 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 simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides 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 Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can investigate a PT program’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with some Laguna Hills CA physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your program selections. It may also be a good idea to contact the California Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two relevant statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist schools you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students left because of dissatisfaction 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 college’s job placement program, particularly in the Laguna Hills CA area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also confirms that the school has a wide network of contacts to help students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you enroll in provides both superior training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria for California or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapist programs you are reviewing have associations with Laguna Hills CA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Laguna Hills health care community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student 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 an opportunity to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Laguna Hills CA home. Those who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? Most DPT schools provide some type of financial support to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at have a financial aid department and see what kind of assistance is available. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist college you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Laguna Hills CA area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn 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 Laguna Hills California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Laguna Hills CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Laguna Hills, California
Laguna Hills is a city in Orange County, California, United States. Its name refers to its proximity to Laguna Canyon and the much older Laguna Beach. Other newer cities nearby—Laguna Niguel and Laguna Woods—are similarly named.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.7 square miles (17 km2). 6.7 square miles (17 km2) of it is land and 0.025 square miles (0.065 km2) of it (0.37%) is water.
Laguna Hills is built on one of the major land grants developed during the rancho era. Following Mexico's independence from Spain in 1821, those who had served in the government or who had friends in authority, were given vast lands for cattle grazing. Rancho Lomas de Santiago, Rancho San Joaquin, and Rancho Niguel covered much of the western portion of the Saddleback Valley. Don Juan Avila was granted the 13,000-acre Rancho Niguel on which Laguna Hills is located.
Choose the Right Physical Therapy Degree Program near Laguna Hills CA
Deciding on the best physical therapist school is a necessary first decision you must make to start a gratifying career in the medical field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you enroll in should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are additional important questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapist college, keep in mind that numerous variables will guide you to your ultimate decision. You may decide to go to each of the schools to see their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me accomplish 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 right selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Laguna Hills CA.
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