How to Find the Right Physical Therapist Training Program near West Medford Massachusetts
Earning a physical therapy degree near West Medford MA is an essential first step to starting a rewarding career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled as a result of illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the proper training and education. A PT must also become licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research those you are considering to make certain they will supply a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be considered in addition to location and cost. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists practice in varying settings, such as West Medford MA private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a program of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks
- Sports injuries
- Fire injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other West Medford MA health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapy degrees offered for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief descriptions of degree levels that are available in the West Medford MA area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often made available by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to prepare students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they normally take four years to finish and often include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to finish, making the overall investment of time 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal element in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not only 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 attainable in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Schools Online
Although not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online portion of the course of study can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s West Medford MA residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition may be somewhat lower than similar on campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding several of your initial questions, such as the type of physical therapist degree you want to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the West Medford MA area and throughout Massachusetts, you’ll need to explore additional qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of college choices. Also, you want to make sure that you select the school that is best for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering. Ask each of the competing schools these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Ask if the programs you are considering have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. 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 may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call several West Medford MA physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your college options. It may also be prudent to check with the Massachusetts Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two relevant statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapy colleges you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once 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 West Medford MA area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or even excellent. It also affirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment after graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you enroll in provides both superior training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria for Massachusetts or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the physical therapy schools you are reviewing have associations with West Medford MA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional connections in the West Medford health care community and assist 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 the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one 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 decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their West Medford MA home. Students who have decided to attend online classes 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 bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? The majority of DPT colleges supply some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are considering have a financial aid office and find out what type of aid is available. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist college you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the West Medford MA 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 have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near West Medford Massachusetts?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the West Medford MA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Medford is a city 3.2 miles northwest of downtown Boston on the Mystic River in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. In the 2010 U.S. Census, Medford's population was 56,173. It is home to Tufts University.
Medford was settled in 1630 as part of Charlestown. The area was originally called "Mistick" by Thomas Dudley (a name which persisted for many decades), which his party renamed "Meadford". The name may have come from a description of the "meadow by the ford" in the Mystic River, or from two locations in England that Cradock may have known: the hamlet of Mayford or Metford in Staffordshire near Caverswall, or from the parish of Maidford or Medford (now Towcester, Northamptonshire). In 1634, the land north of the Mystic River became the private plantation of former Governor Matthew Cradock; across the river was Ten Hills Farm, which belonged to John Winthrop, Governor of the Massachusetts Bay colony.
In 1637, the first bridge (a toll bridge) across the Mystic River was built at the site of the present-day Cradock Bridge, which carries Main Street into Medford Square. It would be the only bridge across the Mystic until 1787, and as such became a major route for traffic coming into Boston from the north (though ferries and fords were also used). The bridge would be rebuilt in 1880 and 1909.
PTA To PT Programs West Medford MA
Choosing the best physical therapist school is a necessary initial decision you need to make to start a rewarding career in the health care profession. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you pick should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. However there are additional critical questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice as well. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on PTA To PT Programs. However, as you start your search for a physical therapy program keep in mind that numerous variables will lead you toward your final decision. You may want to visit different schools to view their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the best choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in West Medford MA.
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