How to Pick a Physical Therapist Training Program near Washington 26181
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Washington WV is a critical first step to launching a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated 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 receive the proper training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to investigate those you are looking at to make certain they will deliver a quality education and meet your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is choose a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be considered in addition to cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in diverse locations, including Washington WV 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 diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a program of treatment to address the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Washington WV health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Offered
There are 3 physical therapist degrees available for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the only 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 progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief summaries of degree levels that are offered in the Washington WV area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are usually made available by community or junior colleges, and take about two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy education to ready students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally require four years to finish and usually incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required if you want to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program also must 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 overall investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential component along with the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, 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 phased out and is no longer attainable in the United States. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Colleges Online
While not as prevalent as the more traditional alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs available, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the curriculum can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Washington WV home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition might be significantly less than comparable on-campus options, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you probably have come to decision regarding several of your initial questions, like the type of physical therapist degree you want 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 Washington WV area and throughout West Virginia, you’ll need to look into additional qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of school choices. Furthermore, you want to make certain that you choose the program that is right for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential schools these questions before making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Find out if the schools you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. 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 choose an online program, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the college 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 asking for 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 also. Call some Washington WV physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your program options. It may also be a good idea to check with the West Virginia Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two important statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Washington WV area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps excellent. It also verifies that the college has a large network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you select provides both superior training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for West Virginia 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 therapy school. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapy programs you are reviewing have associations with Washington WV hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships 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 assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Washington health care community and help with job placement after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on 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 pharmacy technician program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they select will need to be within driving distance of their Washington WV home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required 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 Support Provided? Most DPT colleges offer some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid department and find out what kind of aid is obtainable. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist program you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Washington WV area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option 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 as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Washington West Virginia?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Washington WV area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Washington metropolitan area
The Washington metropolitan area is the metropolitan area centered on Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. The area includes all of the federal district and parts of the U.S. states of Maryland and Virginia, along with a small portion of West Virginia. While not a part of the Washington metropolitan area, St. Mary's County is part of the Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area.
The Washington metropolitan area is one of the most educated and most affluent metropolitan areas in the US. The metro area anchors the southern end of the densely populated Northeast megalopolis with an estimated total population of 6,133,552 as of the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau estimate[update], making it the sixth-largest metropolitan area in the nation and the largest metropolitan area in the Census Bureau's Southeast region.
The U.S. Office of Management and Budget defines the area as the Washington–Arlington–Alexandria, DC–VA–MD–WV metropolitan statistical area, a metropolitan statistical area used for statistical purposes by the United States Census Bureau and other agencies. The region's three largest cities are the federal territory of Washington, D.C., the county (and census-designated place) of Arlington, and the independent city of Alexandria. The Office of Management and Budget also includes the metropolitan statistical area as part of the larger Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area, which has a population of 9,546,579 as of the 2014 Census Estimate.
Choose the Ideal Physical Therapist Degree Program near Washington WV
Deciding on the right physical therapist program is a necessary initial decision you must make to start a fulfilling career in the health care field. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you decide on should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. However there are other important questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapy program, keep in mind that a number of factors will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You may decide to go to each of the schools to see their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the right choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Washington WV.
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