How to Pick a Physical Therapist School near Weslaco 78596
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Weslaco TX is an important first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the appropriate training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to investigate the ones you are thinking about to make certain they will supply a quality education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be evaluated besides location and cost. 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?
Physical therapists practice in varying settings, including Weslaco TX 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 touched on, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Weslaco TX medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Available
There are three physical therapist degrees offered for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degrees that are offered in the Weslaco TX area:
- Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are most often provided by community or junior colleges, and take about two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a component of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy education to prep students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally take 4 years to complete and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated 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 complete, making the total investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical training is an important element along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Therefor 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 eliminated and is no longer offered in the United States. 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 Schools Online
Although not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the program may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Weslaco TX residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition may be somewhat less than similar on campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
By now you most likely have made a decision concerning a few of your preliminary queries, such as the type of physical therapist degree you want to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the Weslaco TX area and across Texas, you’ll have to explore additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Also, you want to be sure that you enroll in the college that is right for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are considering. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Ask if the programs you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national 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 select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT college’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Call some Weslaco TX physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your program options. It might also be prudent to contact the Texas Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two important statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist colleges you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students left because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Weslaco TX area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps excellent. It also confirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the college you choose furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements for Texas or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the physical therapist schools you are reviewing have relationships with Weslaco TX hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner 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 may help graduates and students form professional connections in the Weslaco healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are researching 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 ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Weslaco TX residence. Those who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? The majority of DPT colleges provide some type of financial aid to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid office and see what type of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. Some physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapist program you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Weslaco TX area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Weslaco Texas?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Weslaco TX area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Weslaco /ˈwɛsləˌkoʊ/ is a city in Hidalgo County, Texas, United States. As of the 2010 census the population was 35,670, and in 2016 the estimated population was 40,033. It is located at the southern tip of Texas in the Rio Grande Valley near Mexican border, across the Rio Grande from the city of Nuevo Progreso, Rio Bravo, Tamaulipas.
Weslaco derives its name from the W.E. Stewart Land Company. It was the hometown of Harlon Block, one of the Marines photographed raising the flag at Iwo Jima, and of film and television actor David Spielberg.
Streets north of the railroad tracks have Spanish names, and streets south of the railroad tracks bear names in English, as a consequence of a 1921 municipal ordinance which declared that land north of the tracks be reserved for Hispanic residences and businesses, and land south of the tracks be reserved for "Anglo" residences and businesses. During World War II, sandbag production reached a peak in Weslaco, and the town declared itself the "sandbagging capital of the world".
Enroll in the Ideal Physical Therapist Degree Program near Weslaco TX
Selecting the ideal physical therapy college is an important first decision you need to make to start a rewarding career in the health care profession. As we have addressed 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 relevant questions that you should ask regarding your college of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist program, keep in mind that many variables will guide you to your ultimate decision. You may decide to go to each of the schools to view their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Weslaco TX.
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