How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapist Program near Westlake Village California
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Westlake Village CA is a critical first step to starting a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated due to injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the necessary education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate the ones you are considering to ensure they will provide a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be evaluated along with cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of settings, including Westlake Village CA hospitals, health clinics, 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 mentioned, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also strive to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest
- Sports injuries
- Burn injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Westlake Village CA health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are three physical therapist degrees available for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is offered 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. Following are brief descriptions of degrees that are offered in the Westlake Village CA 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 equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are typically offered by community or junior colleges, and take about two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically part of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist education to ready candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally take four years to complete and commonly 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 also must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to complete, making the overall commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an essential component in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not just 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 practicing 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 Therapist Colleges Online
Although not as common as the on-campus options, there are some 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 integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Westlake Village CA home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat lower than similar on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
At this point you most likely have come to decision concerning some of your preliminary questions, like the kind of physical therapist degree you want to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are so many PT schools within the Westlake Village CA area and across California, you’ll have to explore other qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Moreover, you need to be sure that you enroll in the college that is right for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Ask if the programs you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously stated, 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 may also earn 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. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact several Westlake Village CA physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your college options. It might also be a good idea to check with the California Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapy programs you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might mean that students left because of displeasure 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 college’s job placement program, particularly in the Westlake Village CA area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also verifies that the school has a wide network of contacts to help students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the college you choose furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be working. 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 PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the physical therapy programs you are evaluating have partnerships with Westlake Village CA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Westlake Village healthcare community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type 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 enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are considering what the typical 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 speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist school they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Westlake Village CA residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind 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 typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? The majority of DPT colleges supply some type of financial support to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are looking at have a financial assistance department and see what kind of assistance is offered. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. Some physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapist program you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Westlake Village CA area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option 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 may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Westlake Village California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Westlake Village CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Westlake Village, California
Westlake Village is a city in Los Angeles County on its western border with Ventura County. The population was estimated to be at 8,473 in 2014, up from 8,368 at the 2000 census. The headquarters of the Dole Food Company is also located in Westlake Village.
The original community was known simply as Westlake. Roughly two-thirds of it was annexed by the city of Thousand Oaks in two portions, in 1968 and 1972. In 1981, the remaining third eventually incorporated as the City of Westlake Village. The city became Los Angeles County's 82nd municipality after its incorporation.
Chumash Indians were the first to settle in what is now Westlake Village. It was home to a Chumash settlement known as Hipuk. About 3,000 years ago, Chumash Indians moved into the region and lived by hunting rabbits and other game, and gathering grains and acorns. On-going excavations, archaeological sites, and polychrome rock paintings in the area provide a glimpse into the social and economic complexity of the ancient Chumash world.
Online Physical Therapist Assistant Programs Westlake Village CA
Choosing the ideal physical therapist program is a necessary first decision you must make to launch a gratifying career in the healthcare profession. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you enroll in should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are additional critical questions that you should ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Online Physical Therapist Assistant Programs. However, as you begin your search for a physical therapist program keep in mind that many variables will guide you to your final decision. You might want to visit each of the campuses to see their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me reach my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the best selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Westlake Village CA.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in California
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