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Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – Waterloo NE

How to Enroll In a Physical Therapy College near Waterloo 68069

Waterloo NE physical therapy school student with volunteerGetting a physical therapy degree near Waterloo NE is an essential first step to starting a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled as a result of illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to investigate those you are looking at to make certain they will supply a superior education and comply with 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 the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be evaluated besides location and cost. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.

What Do Physical Therapists Do?

Waterloo NE physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists work in a variety of settings, such as Waterloo NE private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they develop a course of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Strokes.
  • Cardiac arrest.
  • Sports injuries.
  • Fire injuries.
  • Knee Replacement.
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Multiple Sclerosis.

Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Waterloo NE health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degree Options

Waterloo NE physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are three physical therapy degrees available for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short summaries of degree levels that are available in the Waterloo NE area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually provided by community or junior colleges, and take about two 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 training to prep students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they normally take 4 years to complete and usually incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want to become a practicing licensed physical therapist. The degree program must also be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to finish, making the overall commitment seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential element in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely 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 eliminated and is no longer available in the United States. Some licensed 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 Therapy Programs Online

woman attending physical therapy school online in Waterloo NEAlthough not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, 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 close to the school campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Waterloo NE residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition can be significantly less than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.

Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges

At this point you most likely have come to decision regarding a few of your preliminary questions, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Waterloo NE area and across Nebraska, you’ll need to look into additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school choices. Also, you need to be sure that you choose the program that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are considering. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions prior to making a final decision.

Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited?  Ask if the schools you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. 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 select 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 choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the Program’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact a few Waterloo NE physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your college options. It may also be a good idea to contact the Nebraska Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the schools.

What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapy schools you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Waterloo NE area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even excellent. It also affirms that the program has a large network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you enroll in furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements for Nebraska 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 therapist school. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the physical therapy programs you are assessing have partnerships with Waterloo NE hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional connections in the Waterloo healthcare community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are looking at what the typical 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 an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.

Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Waterloo NE home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might 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 to those students that don’t reside within their districts.

Is Financial Help Provided? The majority of DPT schools provide some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial aid office and see what type of assistance is offered. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. Some physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance might be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapy college you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Waterloo NE area, check 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, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Waterloo Nebraska?

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

Waterloo, Nebraska

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 848 people, 337 households, and 229 families residing in the village. The population density was 1,304.6 inhabitants per square mile (503.7/km2). There were 359 housing units at an average density of 552.3 per square mile (213.2/km2). The racial makeup of the village was 95.9% White, 0.6% African American, 1.2% Native American, 1.1% from other races, and 1.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.5% of the population.

There were 337 households of which 30.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.0% were married couples living together, 8.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 32.0% were non-families. 27.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.09.

The median age in the village was 38.9 years. 26.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 6.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.8% were from 25 to 44; 28.1% were from 45 to 64; and 12.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the village was 49.8% male and 50.2% female.

Enroll in the Best Physical Therapy Degree Program near Waterloo NE

Deciding on the best physical therapist school is an important initial decision you must make to begin a gratifying career in the health care field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you enroll in should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are additional critical questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapy college, bear in mind that a number of variables will lead you to your final decision. You might decide to visit each of the schools to see their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the right choice. And with the proper training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Waterloo NE.

A Few More Interesting Locations in Nebraska

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