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Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – Williamsburg VA

How to Enroll In a Physical Therapist Program near Williamsburg 23185

Williamsburg VA physical therapy school student with volunteerEarning a physical therapy degree near Williamsburg VA is an important first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated due to illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the proper education and training. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research those 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 just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to 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?

Williamsburg VA physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists practice in a variety of settings, such as Williamsburg VA 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 touched on, 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 create a program of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Strokes.
  • Cardiac arrest.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
  • Fire injuries.
  • Hip Replacement.
  • Sciatica.
  • Cerebral Palsy.

Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Williamsburg VA medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees

Williamsburg VA physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are 3 physical therapy degrees available for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is attainable 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 brief explanations of degree levels that are offered in the Williamsburg VA 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 earned a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically offered by community or junior colleges, and take about two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically a component of the program.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy training to prep candidates 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 practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally take four years to finish and commonly incorporate 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). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the total commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an important element along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not just 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 offered in the USA. Some practicing 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 Colleges Online

woman attending physical therapy school online in Williamsburg VAWhile not as prevalent as the on-campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy programs available, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online part of the program may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Williamsburg VA residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition can be significantly lower than comparable on campus alternatives, and expenditures 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 best choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.

Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Schools

At this point you most likely have made a decision regarding several of your preliminary questions, like the type of physical therapist degree you want 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 colleges within the Williamsburg VA area and across Virginia, you’ll have to explore additional qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of college options. Moreover, you need to be sure that you choose the school that is ideal for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final decision.

Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited?  Find out if the colleges 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 enroll in an online school, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist school and program you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the School’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT school’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Contact some Williamsburg VA physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your school options. It may also be a good idea to check with the Virginia 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 Rate? There are a two relevant statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapy colleges you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Williamsburg VA area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also confirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment after graduation.

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

Are Internships Provided? Ask if the physical therapy schools you are reviewing have associations with Williamsburg VA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Williamsburg health care community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.

Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Williamsburg VA 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 decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually 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 form of financial assistance to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are considering have a financial aid office and see what type of aid is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance may be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapist program you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Williamsburg VA area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Williamsburg Virginia?

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

Williamsburg, Virginia

Williamsburg is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia, United States. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the population was 14,068. In 2014, the population was estimated to be 14,691. Located on the Virginia Peninsula, Williamsburg is in the northern part of the Hampton Roads metropolitan area. It is bordered by James City County and York County.

Williamsburg was founded in 1632 as Middle Plantation, a fortified settlement on high ground between the James and York rivers. The city served as the capital of the Colony and Commonwealth of Virginia from 1699 to 1780 and was the center of political events in Virginia leading to the American Revolution. The College of William & Mary, established in 1693, is the second-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and the only one of the nine colonial colleges located in the South; its alumni include three U.S. Presidents as well as many other important figures in the nation's early history.

The city's tourism-based economy is driven by Colonial Williamsburg, the restored Historic Area of the city. Along with nearby Jamestown and Yorktown, Williamsburg forms part of the Historic Triangle, which attracts more than four million tourists each year.[6] Modern Williamsburg is also a college town, inhabited in large part by William & Mary students and staff.

Pick the Ideal Physical Therapy Degree Program near Williamsburg VA

Selecting the best physical therapist program is an important initial decision you must make to begin a fulfilling career in the medical profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you choose should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. However there are other critical questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapist program, keep in mind that a number of variables will guide you toward your final decision. You might want to visit each of the colleges to see their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the best selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can achieve your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Williamsburg VA.

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