Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – West Point IA

How to Enroll In a Physical Therapist School near West Point 52656

West Point IA physical therapy school student with volunteerReceiving a physical therapy degree near West Point IA is an essential first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled as a result of illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research those you are looking at to make certain they will deliver a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is choose a college just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other important 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 cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.

What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?

West Point IA physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists practice in a variety of settings, including West Point IA private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also strive to stop any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Strokes.
  • Cardiac arrest.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
  • Burn injuries.
  • Knee Replacement.
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Multiple Sclerosis.

Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other West Point IA health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to take note of for anyone considering entering the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees

West Point IA physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are three physical therapy degree options offered for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief summaries of degrees that are offered in the West Point IA area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically made available by community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally part of the program.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist training to prep candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they generally take four years to complete and often include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are mandated 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 three years to finish, making the total investment of time 7 years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential component along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in several 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 available in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapist Online Colleges

woman attending physical therapy school online in West Point IAWhile not as common as the on-campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist degrees available, 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 necessitates that the student live near the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s West Point IA home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat lower than comparable on-campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Schools

At this point you most likely have made a decision regarding several of your preliminary queries, such as the type of physical therapy degree you want to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the West Point IA area and throughout Iowa, you’ll have to explore additional qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of college options. Also, you want to be sure that you select the program that is best for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential schools these questions before making a final decision.

Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited?  Ask if the colleges you are looking at have received accreditation from a national or a regional 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 can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can investigate a PT school’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Call several West Point IA physical therapy centers or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your college selections. It might also be prudent to check with the Iowa Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.

What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two useful statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapy schools you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the West Point IA area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also confirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you select furnishes both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for Iowa or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapist colleges you are assessing have associations with West Point IA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to get hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional relationships in the West Point healthcare community and help with job placement once licensed.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate 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 as well.

Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their West Point IA residence. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep 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 might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually 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 Aid Provided? The majority of DPT colleges offer some type of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are considering have a financial aid department and find out what kind of help is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. A number of physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid may be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapy college you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the West Point IA area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near West Point Iowa?

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

West Point, Iowa

As of the census[3] of 2010, there were 966 people, 432 households, and 267 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,583.6 inhabitants per square mile (611.4/km2). There were 452 housing units at an average density of 741.0 per square mile (286.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 99.1% White, 0.3% African American, 0.1% Asian, and 0.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.9% of the population.

There were 432 households of which 26.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.6% were married couples living together, 6.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 38.2% were non-families. 33.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.17 and the average family size was 2.71.

The median age in the city was 44.2 years. 20.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 6.8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.6% were from 25 to 44; 26.3% were from 45 to 64; and 22.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.2% male and 52.8% female.

Enroll in the Ideal Physical Therapist School near West Point IA

Deciding on the ideal physical therapy school is an important first decision you have to make to start a gratifying career in the healthcare profession. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you select should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. However there are additional relevant questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapist college, bear in mind that numerous variables will guide you to your final decision. You might want to go to each of the schools to see their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me reach my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the best choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in West Point IA.

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