How to Choose a Physical Therapist Degree Program near Lake Isabella 93240
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Lake Isabella CA is an essential first step to launching a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated as a result of injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the appropriate training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate those you are thinking about to make certain they will deliver a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is choose a college simply 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 location and cost. But before we discuss 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 varying locations, such as Lake Isabella CA private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a course of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Lake Isabella CA medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is rather 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 Therapy Degrees Offered
There are three physical therapist degrees available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is offered 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 advance to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degree levels that are offered in the Lake Isabella CA area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often 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 normally a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist education to prepare students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they generally take four years to finish and often include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement if you want to become a practicing licensed 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 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential element along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not solely 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 phased out and is no longer available in the United States. A number of practicing physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Degrees
Although not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online part of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Lake Isabella CA residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition can be significantly 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 benefits may make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
By now you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning some of your preliminary questions, such as the type of physical therapist degree you would like to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the Lake Isabella CA area and across California, you’ll need to look into other qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of school options. Moreover, you want to make certain that you select the college 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 schools you are considering. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. 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 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 just the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT college’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call some Lake Isabella CA physical therapy centers or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your program options. It may also be prudent to contact 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 Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist programs you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Lake Isabella CA area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care field is good or even outstanding. It also verifies that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you choose provides both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for California or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the physical therapy colleges you are interested in have partnerships with Lake Isabella CA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Lake Isabella medical community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapist school they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Lake Isabella CA home. Students who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often 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 colleges supply some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are examining have a financial aid department and see what type of assistance is offered. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapist program you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Lake Isabella CA area, confirm that they are offered. 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 need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Lake Isabella California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Lake Isabella CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Lake Isabella, California
Lake Isabella (formerly, Isabella) is a census-designated place (CDP) in the southern Sierra Nevada, in Kern County, California, United States. It is named after the Lake Isabella reservoir and located at its southwestern edge, 6 miles (9.7 km) south of Wofford Heights in the Kern River Valley.
The town of Lake Isabella is located 35 miles (56 km) east-northeast of Bakersfield, at an elevation of 2,513 feet (766 m). The population was 3,466 at the 2010 census, up from 3,315 at the 2000 census.
Lake Isabella is at the confluence of the North and South Forks of the Kern River. These rivers are 'wild', in that they are not controlled by any dam upstream. Upstream on the North Fork white water enthusiasts play in the spring and early summer. The famous Golden Trout originate in these rivers in the high country to the north.
Select the Right Physical Therapist School near Lake Isabella CA
Picking the right physical therapy school is a necessary first decision you have to make to start a gratifying career in the medical field. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you select should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are additional critical questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist program, keep in mind that numerous factors will guide you to your final decision. You may want to visit different campuses to view their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the best selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Lake Isabella CA.
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