How to Choose a Physical Therapist Degree Program near Wailuku 96793
Getting a physical therapist degree near Wailuku HI is a critical first step to launching a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled as a result of injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the necessary education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to research the ones you are looking at to ensure they will deliver a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is select a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must 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 Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists practice in varying settings, such as Wailuku HI hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a program of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Wailuku HI health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Available
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 attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degree levels that are available in the Wailuku HI area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are usually made available by community colleges, and take about two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a portion of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training to ready candidates to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they normally require 4 years to complete and often include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to finish, making the overall investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential element along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not solely 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 phased out 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 prior to the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Schools Online
While not as common as the more traditional options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy programs available, more so 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 close to the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online part of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Wailuku HI residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition may be significantly lower than comparable on-campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
By now you probably have come to decision regarding several of your initial questions, like the type of physical therapy degree you want to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Wailuku HI area and throughout Hawaii, you’ll have to explore other qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of school options. Also, you need to make certain that you enroll in the program that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Ask if the programs you are reviewing have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. 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 college, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several ways you can research a PT college’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact several Wailuku HI physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your program options. It might also be a good idea to contact the Hawaii Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two relevant statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist colleges you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might mean that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once 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 Wailuku HI area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or even exceptional. It also confirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you choose furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria for Hawaii or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to 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 and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapist programs you are evaluating have partnerships with Wailuku HI hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Wailuku medical community and help with job placement once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Wailuku HI 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 local internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT schools supply some type of financial aid to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department and see what kind of assistance is offered. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. Some physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapy program you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Wailuku HI area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Wailuku Hawaii?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Wailuku HI area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Wailuku is located just west of Kahului, at the mouth of the ʻĪao Valley. In the early 20th century Wailuku was the main tourist destination on Maui, though it has since been eclipsed with the rise of the resort towns such as Kaʻanapali, so much that there are no hotels to speak of in Wailuku.
Historic sites in the town include Kaʻahumanu Church (named after one of Hawaiʻi's great monarchs, Queen Kaʻahumanu) which dates to 1876, the Wailuku Civic Center Historic District, the site of the Chee Kung Tong Society Building, and the Bailey House, a 19th-century former seminary and home that houses a history museum and the Maui Historical Society.
There are two ancient temples near Wailuku, called heiau — the Halekiʻi Heiau and the Pihanakalani Heiau. Both date back hundreds of years and were used for religious purposes by the native Hawaiians.
Pick the Ideal Physical Therapist Training Program near Wailuku HI
Selecting the right physical therapy college is a necessary first decision you need to make to begin a fulfilling career in the healthcare profession. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you decide on should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are other relevant questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapist school, bear in mind that many variables will guide you to your final decision. You might decide to visit different schools to view their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me realize my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the best selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Wailuku HI.
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