How to Choose the Right Physical Therapy College near Homer Alaska
Getting a physical therapist degree near Homer AK is a critical first step to beginning a rewarding career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled as a result of illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the proper training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s important to investigate the ones you are looking at to make sure they will deliver a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is choose a school just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be evaluated besides cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of locations, such as Homer AK private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to deal with the mobility problems 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 numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks
- Sports injuries
- Burn injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Homer AK health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are 3 physical therapy degrees offered for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the one degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief descriptions of degrees that are available in the Homer AK area:
- Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually provided by community colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually part of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy training to prepare candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally take 4 years to finish 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 also must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to complete, making the overall investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical training is an important component along with the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in a number of 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 offered in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Colleges Online
Although not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of 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 college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Homer AK residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition might be significantly less than similar on-campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning a few of your preliminary queries, including the kind of physical therapist degree you intend to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Homer AK area and across Alaska, you’ll need to research additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school choices. Moreover, you need to make certain that you enroll in the college that is best for you. That’s why we have collected a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Ask if the schools you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously 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 college, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing 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 Program’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple 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. Get in touch with several Homer AK physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your school options. It may also be prudent to contact the Alaska Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two relevant statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Homer AK area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps excellent. It also confirms that the program has a large network of contacts to help students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you choose furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the physical therapy programs you are reviewing have partnerships with Homer AK hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Homer healthcare community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Homer AK home. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? The majority of DPT colleges provide some type of financial support to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are examining have a financial aid office and see what kind of help is available. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants 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, ask what financial aid may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapy college you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Homer AK area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Homer Alaska?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Homer AK area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Homer is a city in Kenai Peninsula Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. It is 218 miles southwest of Anchorage. According to the 2010 Census, the population is 5,003, up from 3,946 in 2000. Long known as The "Halibut Fishing Capital of the World." Homer is also nicknamed "the end of the road," and more recently, "the cosmic hamlet by the sea."
Homer is on the shore of Kachemak Bay on the southwest side of the Kenai Peninsula. Its distinguishing feature is the Homer Spit, a narrow 4.5 mi (7.2 km)) long gravel bar that extends into the bay, on which is located the Homer Harbor.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 22.4 square miles (58 km2), of which 10.6 square miles (27 km2) is land and 11.9 square miles (31 km2) is water. The total area is 52.83% water.
What Degree Is Needed To Be A Physical Therapist Homer AK
Choosing the ideal physical therapy program is an important initial decision you have to make to start a gratifying career in the medical profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you enroll in should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. However there are other important questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on What Degree Is Needed To Be A Physical Therapist. However, as you commence your search for a physical therapy college bear in mind that a number of factors will guide you toward your final decision. You might want to go to different schools to see their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me reach my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the right choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Homer AK.
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