How to Select a Physical Therapist Degree Program near Wrightstown 08562
Receiving a physical therapy degree near Wrightstown NJ is an essential first step to starting a fulfilling career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated as a result of illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the appropriate training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to evaluate those you are thinking about to make sure they will deliver a superior education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is enroll in a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be considered besides location and cost. 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 Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists practice in varying settings, including Wrightstown NJ private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Wrightstown NJ health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapy degree options available for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is offered 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 progress to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degrees that are available in the Wrightstown NJ area:
- Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often offered by community colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training to prep students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important initial 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 at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement in order to become a licensed practicing 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 finish, making the total commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential element along with the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion 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 phased out and is no longer available in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Colleges Online
While not as common as the on campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Wrightstown NJ residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat less than comparable on-campus options, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
By now you probably have come to decision regarding several of your preliminary queries, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you intend to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Wrightstown NJ area and throughout New Jersey, you’ll have to explore other qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of school choices. Also, you want to be sure that you pick the school that is right for you. That’s why we have collected a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are considering. Ask each of the competing schools these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional 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 select an online program, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Call several Wrightstown NJ physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your college selections. It may also be prudent to contact the New Jersey Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Wrightstown NJ area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or even exceptional. It also confirms that the college has a large network of contacts to help students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the program you select provides both superior training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements for New Jersey or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the physical therapy schools you are assessing have relationships with Wrightstown NJ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to get practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Wrightstown health care community and assist with job placement once licensed.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Wrightstown NJ residence. Students who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. 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 might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Most DPT colleges provide some form of financial aid to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid office and find out what type of assistance is offered. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. Some physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapist program you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Wrightstown NJ 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 have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Wrightstown New Jersey?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Wrightstown NJ area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Wrightstown, New Jersey
Wrightstown is a borough in Burlington County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 802 reflecting an increase of 54 (+7.2%) from the 748 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn declined by 3,095 (-80.5%) from the 3,843 counted in the 1990 Census.
Wrightstown was incorporated as a borough by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 4, 1918, from portions of New Hanover Township and North Hanover Township, based on the results of a referendum held on March 26, 1918. The borough was named for John Wright, an early settler who contributed the land that became the settlement of Wrightstown.
The borough is one of 56 South Jersey municipalities that are included within the New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve, a protected natural area of unique ecology covering 1,100,000 acres (450,000 ha), that has been classified as a United States Biosphere Reserve and established by Congress in 1978 as the nation's first National Reserve. Part of the borough is included in the state-designated Pinelands Area, which includes portions of Burlington County, along with areas in Atlantic, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Ocean counties.
Choose the Ideal Physical Therapist School near Wrightstown NJ
Deciding on the right physical therapist program is an important initial decision you need to make to start a fulfilling career in the health care field. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you choose should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are other important questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapy program, keep in mind that a number of variables will lead you toward your final decision. You might decide to go to each of the colleges to see their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the ideal choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can achieve your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Wrightstown NJ.
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