How to Find the Right Physical Therapist School near Waterford 06385
Getting a physical therapist degree near Waterford CT is an important first step to starting a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled due to illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to evaluate the ones you are thinking about to make certain they will furnish a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is select a school just 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 evaluated along with cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists work in diverse settings, such as Waterford CT hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they design a program of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Waterford CT medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are 3 physical therapist degree options offered for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is attainable to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degrees that are available in the Waterford CT area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are usually provided by community colleges, and take about two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually part of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy training to prepare students to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to becoming 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 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 overall investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an essential element along with the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in some 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 USA. A number of practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Degrees
While not as prevalent as the more traditional options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to 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. Fortunately, the online part of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Waterford CT residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition might be significantly less than similar on campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
At this point you most likely have made a decision regarding some of your initial queries, including the type of physical therapist degree you want to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Waterford CT area and throughout Connecticut, you’ll need to research additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school options. Moreover, you need to make sure that you select the program that is best for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Ask if the programs you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online program, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Call several Waterford CT physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your college selections. It might also be prudent to contact the Connecticut 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 useful statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Waterford CT 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 affirms that the school has a wide network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment after graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the school you enroll in provides both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Connecticut or the state where you will be practicing. 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 college. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the physical therapy colleges you are interested in have relationships with Waterford CT hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Waterford health care community and assist with job placement after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapist school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Waterford CT residence. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? The majority of DPT schools supply some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have a financial aid department and see what kind of help is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapy program you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Waterford CT area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Waterford Connecticut?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Waterford CT area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Waterford is a town in New London County, Connecticut, United States. It is named after Waterford, Ireland. The population was 19,517 at the 2010 census.  The town center is listed as a census-designated place (CDP) and had a population of 2,887 at the 2010 census.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 44.6 square miles (115.4 km2), of which 32.8 square miles (84.9 km2) is land and 11.8 square miles (30.5 km2), or 26.43%, is water. The town center CDP has a total area of 1.9 square miles (4.9 km2), all land. Waterford is bordered on the west by the Niantic River.
Other minor communities and geographic features are Dufree Hill, East Neck, Fog Plain, Gilead, Goshen, Great Neck, Harrisons, Lake's Pond, Logger Hill, Mago Point, Magonk, Mullen Hill, Oswegatchie, Pepperbox Road, Pleasure Beach, Ridgewood Park, Riverside Beach, Spithead, Strand, West Neck.
Choose the Best Physical Therapist Training Program near Waterford CT
Choosing the ideal physical therapy college is a necessary first decision you must make to start a gratifying career in the health care profession. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you choose should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are additional relevant questions that you need to ask regarding your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist school, keep in mind that a number of factors will guide you to your final decision. You may decide to visit different campuses to see their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the best choice. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Waterford CT.
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