How to Pick a Physical Therapist Degree Program near Winchester 37398
Obtaining a physical therapy degree near Winchester TN is a critical first step to launching a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled as a result of illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the appropriate 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 before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research the ones you are thinking about to make sure they will deliver a superior education and meet your state’s licensing standards. 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 relevant qualifications that must be evaluated besides location and cost. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in a variety of settings, including Winchester TN private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they create a program of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Winchester TN medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Offered
There are 3 physical therapy degree options available for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is offered 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 progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief summaries of degree levels that are available in the Winchester TN area:
- Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically offered by junior or community colleges, and require 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist education to prep students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take four years to complete and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 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 overall commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an important component in addition to the considerable lab and classroom 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 replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer offered in the USA. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Schools
Although not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapy programs offered, more so 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 close to the school campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online part of the course of study can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Winchester TN residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition might be significantly less than similar on campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. 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 dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
At this point you probably have come to decision regarding several of your preliminary questions, such as the type of physical therapist degree you would like to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are so many PT schools within the Winchester TN area and throughout Tennessee, you’ll need to look into other qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of college options. Also, you want to make sure that you pick the program that is right for you. That’s why we have put together a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier 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 enroll in an online college, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy school and program you select are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are a number of ways you can research a PT college’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Contact a few Winchester TN physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your school selections. It may also be prudent to check with the Tennessee Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist programs you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, 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 Winchester TN area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also confirms that the school has a large network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you choose furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria for Tennessee 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 therapist program. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapist programs you are assessing have relationships with Winchester TN hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional connections in the Winchester health care community and help with job placement once licensed.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Winchester TN home. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often 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 Assistance Offered? Most DPT schools supply some form of financial aid to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department and find out what type of aid is offered. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. A number of physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapy school you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Winchester TN area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Winchester Tennessee?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Winchester TN area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Winchester was created as the seat of justice for Franklin County by act of the Tennessee Legislature on November 22, 1809, and was laid out the following year. The town is named for James Winchester, a soldier in the American Revolution, first Speaker of the Tennessee Legislature, and a brigadier general in the War of 1812.
Mary Sharp College (originally the "Tennessee and Alabama Female Institute", but later renamed in honor of Mary Corn Sharp, a donor) was founded in 1851 by Dr. Z. C. Graves and the Baptist Church. Though a women's college, it offered a classical curriculum based upon what was being offered at the time by Amherst College, Brown University, and the University of Virginia. It closed in 1896. During the 19th century, the institution helped make Winchester an educational center. Other private schools in the city were Carrick Academy for male students (founded in 1809), Winchester Female Academy (founded in 1835), and Winchester Normal College.
The city was occupied first by Confederate and then by Union troops during the Civil War. Winchester, along with the rest of Franklin County, seceded from the Union several months before the rest of Tennessee, unofficially becoming a part of Alabama until the rest of the state seceded. It lay on the line of retreat to Chattanooga followed by the Confederate Army of Tennessee during the campaign of 1863.
Pick the Best Physical Therapist Degree Program near Winchester TN
Choosing the right physical therapy program is a necessary first decision you need to make to begin a fulfilling career in the health care profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you pick should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. But there are other critical questions that you need to ask regarding your college of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapy college, bear in mind that numerous factors will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You may decide to visit different campuses to see their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the ideal selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Winchester TN.
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