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How to Choose the Best Physical Therapy School

How to Choose the Best Physical Therapy School

How to Choose the Best Physical Therapy School

If you’re a prospective student that’s considering a change in careers towards physical therapy, then it’s time to begin evaluating all of the PT schools which are out there. It’s crucial that you know your choices, and how to make an educated decision between them. In this way, you’ll give yourself a leg up, and find a PT school that is a perfect match for your own needs, desires, and preferences, ensuring you begin your new career successfully. Before comparing PT schools directly from one to another, the first step is to view an overall picture of what kinds of programs are available these days. Physical therapy is offered at the post-graduation or second-degree level, and therefore a bachelor's degree will be required beforehand. This is the case for all programs except for those which offer a combined bachelor's and secondary degree track. Choosing the right physiotherapy school is an important step to advance in this increasingly demanded profession. Fortunately, there are many physical therapy programs available to prospective students today, but it is important to understand not only what they offer, but also what you should be checking for or what else you should know about these programs in general.

Today, there are a total of 400 physical therapy programs in the United States. This count includes only accredited schools, with the accreditation being provided by the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). Graduation from a CAPTE accredited physical therapy school is of the utmost importance, as you will be unable to take the licensure exam, obtain a license, and practice in the field without it. Therefore, that’s the first element you’ll need to look for with any program. This is also important because the schools and colleges with official certifications are the ones that have reached the criteria for high-quality education. What this signifies for you personally is that you will receive training and coursework which are current and really suitable for practical application. Most importantly, excellent training will add to the chances of you passing the licensure examination. The vast majority of PT schools right now offer a doctoral degree, known as a DPT, Doctorate of Physical Therapy. There are just a handful of programs that offer an MPT degree, and by 2015, every PT school in the country will be forced to offer only DPTs. At this point, you can see that you have some 400 choices, you need to look for CAPTE accreditation, and the doctoral degree is far and away from the best and most commonly available choice. But what else do you need to know in order to choose the best PT school for you? One very important consideration for you should be the types of clinical opportunities and work partnership programs that are available.

Select The Right Type of Degree

You will also need to think about what kind of degree you’re looking for, and how long you are planning or willing to go back into school. The vast majority of accredited physical therapy programs are for doctoral degrees, and only a few offer master's degrees. The ratio is 200 to 12 in favor of doctorate degrees, which will take about three years to complete, versus the two years of completion for masters degrees. There is not any accredited physical therapy school providing a bachelor's degree in the field at this time.

Consider The Prerequisite Requirements

Before applying, it’s also important to think about the requirements of the different programs you may be considering. In almost all cases, a specific bachelor's degree major or type is not needed, however, most commonly, students come from exercise science, kinesiology or similar backgrounds. You’ll typically need to take and pass the GRE exam, and certain prerequisites or grade levels may be required by different programs.

Compare The Program Structure

From there, you’ll need to start evaluating an individual physical therapy school based on what they are offering to you. What are their curriculum and the core components of the program itself, who are the faculty, how many students will be in your classes, and so forth? Other factors to consider include any employment partnerships or programs after graduation, internship opportunities, the rate of successful licensure and employment, and more.

Choose a School that has a High Licensure Passing Rate

On this note, it is important to mention that you understand that no physical therapy graduate student is able to practice without passing the National Physical Therapy examination. So you would want to go to a school that will help you easily pass the licensure test. To find a physical therapy school that gives the most effective instruction, you can check out the list of state examination passers and then determine from what college/university they come from. The very best physical therapist schools or universities should belong to the top 10 or 20 list. Obviously, the higher the licensure passing rate, the higher quality of the PT school.

Select a Physical Therapist School Offering Great Clinical Education Programs

At the end of the day, your job as a physical therapist shall be all about personally dealing with affected individuals. That said, the ideal physical therapist school is one that will provide you with adequate exposure and knowledge through real-life training. You should know if a particular physical therapy college has affiliations with particular healthcare establishments or hospitals. You should check out the website of the physical therapy universities you are looking to join and find out what their connections are as well as the internship programs they offer their students. The standard rule is that about 20% of a DPT program is dedicated to clinical work, and when it comes time for you to complete this, you want to be working in great settings and environments, with all of the best equipment, and so forth. Evaluating what a school is able to provide in this regard will be a crucial factor to consider. From there, you’ll also want to be able to have doors open for you in terms of future work opportunities outside of school. A lot of this may come down to location, or the prestige of the university, as well as whatever local partnerships they have acquired. Having professors who are active in the field and well renowned, and having job placement and assistance services can all make a difference for you as you’re trying to get started upon graduation.

Other Factors

In addition, all of the typical components of choosing schools will need to be considered as well. This means the geographic location of the school, the cost of education and whether financial assistance is provided, and so forth. The following factors that will affect your schooling should also be considered:

1.Specific requirements for admission
2.Course curriculum and structure
3.How long the school has been teaching physical therapy
4.The reputation of the school throughout the industry
5.Demographics of the students
6.The location and setting of the campus
7.The size of the school or university
8.The size of the physical therapy program’s 1st-year class
9.Types of training and clinical education opportunities
10.Length of the program
11. Type of degree and qualification awarded
12.Physical Therapist licensure exam pass rates for the school
13.University cost, financial aid, and scholarship opportunities
14.Additional extracurricular activities available
15.Quality and Rate of employment for graduates of the school
16.School Facilities.  ie Labs, classrooms, equipment

Clearly, there are many different factors to consider when choosing between physical therapy programs. There are over 200 schools to choose from, so you won't be short of options. Find something that not only meets your needs, wants and interests, but also matches your background in terms of admission and admission requirements or standards.

Tips to Apply to Physical Therapy Schools - Strategies that Work

How to Choose the Best Physical Therapy School

Deciding which career you want to pursue is a big decision, but it’s also one that must be made fairly early in life if you’re going to get the training you need in college and technical school to be successful in your field. If you’ve always been interested in a career that would allow you to help people to live healthier and more fulfilling lives, you might be considering a career in physical therapy. Professionals in this field are responsible for caring for patients that have suffered injuries, disease or impairments at birth that make it difficult for them to get around and live an independent life. Physical therapists are highly trained and enjoy a myriad of possible job assignments and work environments after they graduate. If you are thinking about applying to physical therapy schools, you should know that it is a very competitive market right now. The federal government has reported that the demand for well trained physical therapists is expected to grow rapidly over the next eight to ten years. The reason for this growth includes an expanding population of elderly people that need continued care later on in their lives, as well as the need to address the injuries and illnesses of returning military veterans.

If you are eager to enter a field that will offer considerable job security and give you a chance to provide a valuable service in your community, you’ve got to know the best strategies for applying to physical therapy schools. The first thing you have to do if you’re going to apply to physical therapy schools is to decide which of the degree levels is right for you. It’s important to point out that there are no undergraduate degrees that will allow you to work as a physical therapist, although there are pre-physical therapy bachelor’s degrees that are often required to apply for the advanced degrees. Choosing between the master’s degree and the doctorate degree in physical therapy simply depends on if you already have an undergraduate degree in an acceptable field. Check with the admissions requirements for each degree at the schools you’re interested in. That leads to another important decision that you have to make when you’re applying to physical therapy schools: which school is right for you. There are several things that you should keep in mind when you’re looking for physical therapy schools, including size, location, and accreditation. If you think you will enjoy being part of a large, bustling university atmosphere, a large school might be right for you, and they are often cheaper. The most important thing is that the program to which you are applying is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

How to Choose the Best Physical Therapy School How to Choose the Best Physical Therapy School Reviewed by swapee dee on April 12, 2020 Rating: 5


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