How to Select a Physical Therapist Degree Program near Westlake 70669
Receiving a physical therapy degree near Westlake LA is an essential first step to beginning a rewarding career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated due to injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate the ones you are thinking about to ensure they will furnish a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is select a college just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be considered in addition to cost and location. 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 Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists practice in diverse settings, including Westlake LA private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a program of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Westlake LA health professionals, 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 bear in mind for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Offered
There are three physical therapist degrees available for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is attainable to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degrees that are available in the Westlake LA area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to practice as 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 most often provided by community colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically part of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy education to ready candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they typically require four years to complete and commonly incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required 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 finish, making the overall investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal element in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not solely 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 phased out and is no longer offered in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Programs
Although not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapist programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to 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 school campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online segment of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Westlake LA residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition may be significantly less than comparable on campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
By now you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding several of your preliminary queries, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Westlake LA area and across Louisiana, you’ll need to research other qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school options. Also, you want to make certain that you select the program that is right for you. That’s why we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national 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 enroll in an online college, 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 just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT college’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call some Westlake LA physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your college selections. It may also be prudent to contact the Louisiana Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of useful statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapy programs you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Westlake LA area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or even outstanding. It also affirms that the college has a large network of contacts to help students obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the school you select furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria for Louisiana 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 therapy school. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapist colleges you are evaluating have relationships with Westlake LA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Westlake medical community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are researching 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 converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Westlake LA residence. Those who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to bear 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 might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often 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 Support Offered? The majority of DPT colleges offer some form of financial support to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid office and find out what kind of assistance is offered. 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 provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapy college you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Westlake LA area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Westlake Louisiana?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Westlake LA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Westlake is a city in Calcasieu Parish, in western Louisiana, United States, and is part of the Lake Charles Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 4,568 at the 2010 census. Westlake was incorporated in 1945.
Westlake is located in east-central Calcasieu Parish at 30°14′54″N 93°15′33″W / 30.24833°N 93.25917°W / 30.24833; -93.25917 (30.248455, -93.259047), on the west bank of the Calcasieu River, just north of that river's entry into the water body of Lake Charles. The city of Lake Charles borders Westlake across the river, connected via the Interstate 10 bridge.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Westlake has a total area of 3.71 square miles (9.60 km2), of which 3.65 square miles (9.46 km2) is land and 0.05 square miles (0.14 km2), or 1.49%, is water.
Select the Ideal Physical Therapist School near Westlake LA
Picking the right physical therapist school is a necessary first decision you must make to begin a rewarding career in the medical field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you select should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are additional important questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapist college, keep in mind that numerous variables will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You may decide to go to different colleges to view their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me achieve my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the best choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Westlake LA.
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