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Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – Winter Garden FL

How to Select a Physical Therapist School near Winter Garden 34777

Winter Garden FL physical therapy school student with volunteerReceiving a physical therapist degree near Winter Garden FL is an important first step to beginning a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled as a result of illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the proper education and training. A PT must also be licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate the ones you are looking at to make certain they will furnish a superior education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is select a school just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be considered 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 the options for education.

What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?

Winter Garden FL physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists work in varying settings, such as Winter Garden FL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:

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

Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Winter Garden FL medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees

Winter Garden FL physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are 3 physical therapy degrees offered for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degree levels that are offered in the Winter Garden FL area:

  • Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent 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 a component of the course of study.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to prepare students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally require 4 years to complete and commonly incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 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). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the overall commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an important component along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in a number of states for licensing as well.

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 available in the USA. A number of practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapy Colleges Online

woman attending physical therapy school online in Winter Garden FLWhile not as prevalent as the more traditional 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, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Winter Garden FL home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition may be significantly less than similar on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Schools

At this point you most likely have come to 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 you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Winter Garden FL area and throughout Florida, you’ll need to explore other qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of college choices. Also, you want to make certain that you choose the school that is right for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited?  Ask if the schools you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. 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 choose an online program, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the Program’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can research a PT college’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with a few Winter Garden FL physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your college options. It may also be prudent to check with the Florida Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.

What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of useful statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students left due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Winter Garden FL area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even outstanding. It also confirms that the program has a large network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you select furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for Florida or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapist schools you are assessing have partnerships with Winter Garden FL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Winter Garden healthcare community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.

Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Winter Garden FL residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something 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 be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.

Is Financial Support Provided? The majority of DPT schools provide some type of financial support to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are examining 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 qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance might be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapy college you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Winter Garden FL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Winter Garden Florida?

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

Winter Garden, Florida

Winter Garden is a city located 14 miles (23 km) west of downtown Orlando in western Orange County, Florida, United States. It is part of the Orlando–Kissimmee–Sanford, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area. Winter Garden's population as of the 2010 census was 34,568.[6]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 15.6 square miles (40.4 km2), of which 15.4 square miles (39.9 km2) is land and 0.19 square miles (0.5 km2) (1.28%) is water.[8]

The terrain is characterized by a gentle to moderately sloping topography. Winter Garden has the highest elevation spot in Orange County. The highest elevation is 222 feet (68 m) in NAVD 88 (North American Vertical Datum) located in the southwest corner of the city South near the county line with Lake County. The lowest elevation in the city is 64 feet (20 m) near Lake Apopka.

Select the Best Physical Therapist School near Winter Garden FL

Choosing the right physical therapy college is an important initial decision you have to make to start a rewarding career in the medical field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you decide on should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are other critical questions that you need to ask regarding your school of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapist program, keep in mind that many variables will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You might decide to go to each of the campuses to view their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me achieve 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 appropriate choice. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Winter Garden FL.

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