Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – West des Moines IA

How to Select a Physical Therapist Program near West des Moines 50265

West des Moines IA physical therapy school student with volunteerObtaining a physical therapy degree near West des Moines IA is an essential first step to launching a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled as a result of injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to investigate those you are thinking about to make certain they will provide a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is choose a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be considered besides location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.

What is a Physical Therapist?

West des Moines IA physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists practice in a variety of locations, such as West des Moines IA hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a program of treatment to address the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also try to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Strokes.
  • Heart attacks.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
  • Burn injuries.
  • Hip Replacement.
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Multiple Sclerosis.

Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other West des Moines IA health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degree Options

West des Moines IA physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are 3 physical therapist degrees available for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are brief descriptions of degree levels that are available in the West des Moines IA area:

  • Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are typically offered by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a component of the course of study.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to prep students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally require four years to finish and often incorporate 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 also must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to finish, making the overall commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential component in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in a number of 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 attainable in the United States. A number of practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapist Online Schools

woman attending physical therapy school online in West des Moines IAWhile not as common as the on-campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs available, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure 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 nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s West des Moines IA home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition can be somewhat less than comparable on campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.

Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges

At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding several of your initial questions, like the type of physical therapy degree you intend to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the West des Moines IA area and across Iowa, you’ll have to research additional qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of college options. Moreover, you need to be sure that you choose the school that is best for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions prior to making a final decision.

Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited?  Ask if the schools you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online program, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the School’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can investigate a PT school’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Get in touch with some West des Moines IA physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your program options. It may also be a good idea to check with the Iowa Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two important statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the West des Moines IA area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also verifies that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the program you enroll in furnishes both superior training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for Iowa or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internships Offered? Find out if the physical therapy schools you are assessing have partnerships with West des Moines IA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to receive practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the West des Moines healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide 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 therapy schools you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.

Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their West des Moines IA residence. Those who have opted 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 importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Most DPT schools offer some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are considering have a financial assistance office and see what type of assistance is obtainable. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid may be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapy school you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the West des Moines IA area, make sure that they are offered. 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 have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near West des Moines Iowa?

If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the West des Moines IA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.

West Des Moines, Iowa

West Des Moines is a city in Polk, Dallas, and Warren counties in the U.S. state of Iowa. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 56,609.[4][5] West Des Moines is the second-largest city in the Des Moines metropolitan area and the tenth-largest city in Iowa. It ranked 94th in Money magazine's list of the "100 Best Places to Live and Launch" in 2008, 77th and 57th on the 100 Best Places to Live in 2014 and 2015, respectively, and 18th on the Hipster Cities of 2015.[6][7][8]

The West Des Moines area used to be home to the Sac and Fox tribes. Near the stroke of midnight on October 11, 1845 a gunshot was fired by a cattle farmer, James Cunningham Jordan (1813–1893) and the tribes left. His residence, the Jordan House, has been restored and is now home to the West Des Moines Historical Society. In West Des Moines' early years, the town was a trading and shipping junction. West Des Moines incorporated as the city of Valley Junction on October 9, 1893.

In its early days Valley Junction was home to the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad's switching facilities and repair shops due to its location at the junction of several railroad lines. The Rock Island's facilities moved out of Valley Junction and back into Des Moines in 1936.

Enroll in the Right Physical Therapy Degree Program near West des Moines IA

Selecting the right physical therapist program is a necessary first decision you need to make to start a rewarding career in the healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you decide on should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. However there are additional relevant questions that you should ask regarding your college of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapist college, bear in mind that many factors will lead you to your final decision. You may decide to visit each of the schools to see their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me reach my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the ideal selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in West des Moines IA.

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    West Des Moines
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    Physical Therapy
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