There are many avenues to consider when deciding which physical therapy assistant programs are right for you. You may elect to attend one of the many hundreds of vocational schools that focus on healthcare programs, or you might decide to attend your local community college that offers training in this clinical specialty.
You may choose to lay the building blocks for an eventual ascension to your own private practice as a Physical Therapist and make a four year commitment to acquire a Bachelor of Science Degree, or you might to get into the field as quickly as possible and begin earning a sizable income as a physical therapy assistant from the get-go.
Physical Therapy Assistant Programs
When considering for profit vocational schools, several things come to mind, such as curriculum, class size, professional instructors and training materials and resources. It is important to research your potential school candidates as thoroughly as possible. Don’t be fooled by all the glitz, glamor and hype of their PR packages. There are two primary factors that should guide your choices. First, is their accreditation.
Unless the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education of the American Physical Therapy Association accredits them, you will be unable to take a licensing exam to become certified. This will become an extreme impediment to your career, as you will be unable to lawfully provide clinical assistance to physical therapists, or to work in medical facilities such as hospitals and medical clinics. Insurance companies will demand certification or you will be barred from engaging in any clinical work.
An additional issue you must consider is the fact that many if not most or all of the credits you acquire at a vocational institute, are not transferable to most state colleges and universities. This could become an issue if you start your career as a physical therapy assistant from a vocational school, and later decide to become a physical therapist. You might have to start from square one all over again to secure a bachelor’s degree, and then move on to a master’s degree from a regionally accredited college such as Harvard, Stanford or UC Berkeley. The credits from your vocational physical therapy assistant programs will not be considered because they are not transferable to a regionally accredited college.
Physical Therapy Assistant Programs and Vocational Schools
The second thing to be aware of when considering vocational physical therapy assistant programs is the success or lack thereof of previous graduating classes. It must be of paramount importance to new potential students that the institution they are training at, is highly regarded in the industry and has a sterling reputation of graduating the most competent and highly sought after clinicians.
The business for career colleges and physical therapy assistant schools is booming. With over 75% of adults in the US without a bachelor’s degree, trade schools provide ample appeal for those looking to earn a higher income. Because of the current economic conditions faced by older Americans, they too need to retool older careers or start new ones. Though costs can be three or four times higher than local community colleges, they offer no waiting lists and loans that can be repaid after graduation.
Unfortunately, though most schools are legitimate, some are downright shoddy. In fact starting in the early 1990’s, the US department of education banned more than 650 trade schools from eligibility for federal student aid programs due to a variety of violations such as failure to administer programs properly, and fraud. Many scam schools, designed in particularly around amassing the most tuition monies, student loans and federal grants, are known to hire dozens of recruiters sometimes outnumbering the teaching staff, in an effort to entice students with professional looking facilities, pay later schemes, and false promises. Once the student is hooked, they fail to deliver.
Online Physical Therapy Assistant Programs
One of the newest opportunities available to busy working adults are the physical therapy assistant online programs. If you are unable to commit to a full time student regimen, the opportunity to complete academic coursework in the convenience of your home or elsewhere can be very accommodating. Often an online program can also be far less expensive since there is no need to provide an educational facility, and the question of class size becomes moot because the issue over the number of students within a classroom is no longer relevant.
Physical therapy assistant programs when researched properly can be the beginning of a rich and rewarding career, and a satisfying future, so take your time and be as thorough as possible.
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