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Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – Westernport MD

How to Find the Right Physical Therapy School near Westernport 21562

Westernport MD physical therapy school student with volunteerReceiving a physical therapy degree near Westernport MD is an important first step to beginning a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled as a result of illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the proper training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to research those you are considering to make sure they will provide a quality education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is select a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be evaluated besides cost and location. But before we discuss 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 Do Physical Therapists Do?

Westernport MD physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists practice in diverse settings, including Westernport MD hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a program of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Head injuries.
  • Heart attacks.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
  • Burn injuries.
  • Knee Replacement.
  • Sciatica.
  • Multiple Sclerosis.

Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Westernport MD medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees Offered

Westernport MD physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are three physical therapist degree options offered for individuals to enroll in 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 prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degree levels that are offered in the Westernport MD area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are usually made available by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a component of the program.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy education to prepare students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they normally take 4 years to complete and usually include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are required in order to become a practicing licensed physical therapist. The degree program must also be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the total commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an intregal component in addition to the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in some 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 having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapist Degrees Online

woman attending physical therapy school online in Westernport MDAlthough not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Westernport MD home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition can be significantly less than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Schools

By now you most likely have made a decision regarding several of your initial queries, like the type of physical therapy degree you would like to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Westernport MD area and throughout Maryland, you’ll need to explore other qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of school options. Moreover, you want to make certain that you select the college that is right for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited?  Ask if the programs you are considering have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As earlier 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 school, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the Program’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist community. There are a number of ways you can research a PT college’s reputation, starting with requesting 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 as well. Call a few Westernport MD physical therapy centers or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your school options. It may also be prudent to contact the Maryland Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.

What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapist schools you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Westernport MD area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or even excellent. It also verifies that the school has a large network of contacts to help students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.

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

Are Internships Provided? Find out if the physical therapist colleges you are assessing have associations with Westernport MD hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional connections in the Westernport healthcare community and help with job placement once licensed.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.

Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist school they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Westernport MD residence. Those who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally 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 Support Offered? Most DPT schools supply some type of financial support to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of assistance is offered. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid might be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapy program you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Westernport MD area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Westernport Maryland?

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

Maryland Route 36

Maryland Route 36 (also known as MD 36 or Route 36) is a 29.43-mile (47.36 km) state highway located in Allegany County, Maryland, United States. MD 36's southern terminus is at the WV 46 bridge in Westernport and its northern terminus at U.S. Route 40 Alternate near Cumberland. Between Westernport and Frostburg, it is known as Georges Creek Road, and from Frostburg to Cumberland it is known as Mount Savage Road. Like the majority of Maryland state highways, MD 36 is maintained by the Maryland State Highway Administration (MDSHA).

MD 36 serves as the main road through the Georges Creek Valley, a region which is historically known for coal mining, and has been designated by MDSHA as part of the Coal Heritage Scenic Byway.[2] MD 36 is the main road connecting the towns of Westernport, Lonaconing, and Midland in southwestern Allegany County, as well as Frostburg, Mount Savage, and Corriganville in northwestern Allegany County.

MD 36 has two main sections: Georges Creek Road, which runs along the Georges Creek Valley, from Westernport to Frostburg in southwestern Allegany County, and Mount Savage Road, which runs eastward from Frostburg to Cumberland in northwestern Allegany County. MD 36 is a part of the National Highway System as a principal arterial from I-68 to US 40 Alternate in Frostburg and from MD 35 at Corriganville to US 40 Alternate in Cumberland.[1][3]

Select the Ideal Physical Therapist Degree Program near Westernport MD

Choosing the best physical therapist college is a necessary first decision you need to make to start a gratifying career in the medical field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you decide on should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are additional important questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapy college, keep in mind that numerous factors will lead you toward your final decision. You might want to visit each of the campuses to view their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the right selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Westernport MD.

A Few More Interesting Locations in Maryland

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