How to Pick a Physical Therapist Degree Program near Lawndale 90260
Earning a physical therapy degree near Lawndale CA is an important first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated as a result of injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate those you are thinking about to make certain they will deliver a quality education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is enroll in a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be considered along with location and cost. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of settings, such as Lawndale CA private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. While 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.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Lawndale CA medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Available
There are three physical therapist degrees offered for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is offered to become 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 short explanations of degrees that are available in the Lawndale CA area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are usually made available by community or junior colleges, and require 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a portion of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy training to prepare candidates to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take 4 years to finish and usually incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement in order 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 complete, making the total commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential component in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in several states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced 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 in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Schools
Although 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 incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the curriculum can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Lawndale CA residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition might be somewhat less than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you most likely have come to decision concerning some of your initial queries, like the kind of physical therapy degree you intend to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the Lawndale CA area and throughout California, you’ll have to explore other qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school options. Moreover, you want to make sure that you select the college that is ideal for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering. Ask all of the competing schools these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Find out if the programs you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As previously stated, 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 program, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Contact several Lawndale CA physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations 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 schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy colleges you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Lawndale CA area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also verifies that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you enroll in furnishes both excellent training and a course of study 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 school. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are interested in have associations with Lawndale CA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Lawndale healthcare community and help with job placement after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit 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 monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Lawndale CA residence. Those who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT schools supply some type of financial aid to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are looking at have a financial assistance office and see what type of help is offered. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist program you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Lawndale CA area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Lawndale California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Lawndale CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Lawndale is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. The population was 32,769 at the 2010 census, up from 31,712 according to the 2000 census. The city is in the South Bay region of the Greater Los Angeles Area.
From the 1780s onward, the area that is now Lawndale was part of the Rancho Sausal Redondo, a land grant given by the Spanish colonial government that includes much of what is now the South Bayshore region. In 1905 Charles B. Hopper first subdivided the area and named it after the Chicago neighborhood of the same name. Lots sold slowly and different promotions were tried such as promoting Lawndale as a chicken raising area. The first railway to run through Lawndale was the Inglewood Division of the Redondo Railway which would later become part of the Pacific Electric "Red Car" system. It ran down the middle of Railway Ave. (now Hawthorne Blvd.) until 1933. In 1927 the Santa Fe railroad arrived. After World War II, the immense demand for housing from returning veterans and California newcomers resulted in Lawndale's formation as a bedroom community. On December 28, 1959 it was incorporated as a city in Los Angeles county.
Starting in the 1970s Lawndale's relatively low housing prices but more desirable location relative to its neighboring cities attracted absentee landlords and a substantial portion of its residents increasingly became renters.
Choose the Right Physical Therapy Degree Program near Lawndale CA
Choosing the best physical therapist program is an important initial decision you need to make to begin a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you enroll in should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are other relevant questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist school, keep in mind that numerous variables will guide you to your final decision. You may decide to go to each of the schools to view their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me achieve 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 field so you can make the right selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Lawndale CA.
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