How to Enroll In a Physical Therapist Degree Program near Lakewood 90711
Receiving a physical therapy degree near Lakewood CA is a critical first step to starting a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the appropriate training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to investigate those you are looking at to make sure they will furnish a superior education and meet your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is enroll in a school just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be considered in addition to 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?
Physical therapists practice in diverse settings, including Lakewood CA hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also strive to prevent any progression 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 partnerships with other Lakewood CA health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are three physical therapy degree options offered for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is attainable to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief explanations of degree levels that are available in the Lakewood CA area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are usually offered by junior or community colleges, and take about two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a portion of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy education to ready candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they generally require four years to complete and commonly incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required in order to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program must also 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 overall commitment seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal component in addition to the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in some states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has taken the place of the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer attainable 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 instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Programs
Although not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapy programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the curriculum can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Lakewood CA home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition can be significantly lower than similar on campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring 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 Therapy Programs
By now you most likely have made a decision concerning some of your preliminary queries, like the kind of physical therapist degree you want to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are so many PT schools within the Lakewood CA area and across California, you’ll need to explore other qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of college options. Also, you want to be sure that you choose the program that is best for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Find out if the programs you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously 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 program, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy school and program you select are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call several Lakewood CA physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your college options. It may also be prudent to check with the California Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapy colleges you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean that students left because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Lakewood CA area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps excellent. It also verifies that the college has a large network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you enroll in furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements 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) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist colleges you are evaluating have partnerships with Lakewood CA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional connections in the Lakewood health care community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Lakewood CA home. Those who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to keep 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 have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? The majority of DPT colleges provide some type of financial support to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at have a financial aid department and find out what kind of aid is offered. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapy program you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Lakewood 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 courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn 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 Lakewood California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Lakewood CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Lakewood is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. The population was 80,048 at the 2010 census. It is bordered by Long Beach on the west and south, Bellflower on the north, Cerritos on the northeast, Cypress on the east, and Hawaiian Gardens on the southeast. Major thoroughfares include Lakewood (SR 19), Bellflower, and Del Amo Boulevards and Carson and South Streets. The San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605) runs through the city's eastern regions.
Sometimes called "an instant city" because of its origins, going from lima bean fields in 1950 to a well-developed city by 1960, Lakewood is a classic example of a post–World War II American suburb.
Lakewood is a planned, post-World War II community. Developers Louis Boyar, Mark Taper and Ben Weingart are credited with "altering forever the map of Southern California." Begun in late 1949, the completion of the developers' plan in 1953 helped in the transformation of mass-produced housing from its early phases in the 1930s and 1940s to the reality of the 1950s.
Select the Ideal Physical Therapist Training Program near Lakewood CA
Deciding on the right physical therapist school is a necessary initial decision you must make to begin a rewarding career in the healthcare profession. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you pick should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are other relevant questions that you need to ask regarding your school of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapist college, keep in mind that a number of variables will guide you toward your final decision. You might want to go to each of the colleges to view their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the ideal selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Lakewood CA.
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