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How to Find the Right Physical Therapy Program Near Badger Alaska

Badger Alaska physical therapist working with woman holding balance ballGetting a physical therapy degree near Badger AK is an important first step to starting a rewarding career in the medical care industry. 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 need to get the necessary education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it's important to investigate those you are looking at to ensure they will furnish a superior education and comply with your state's licensing standards. What you should not do is choose a school just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be considered besides cost and location. But before we cover what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we'll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.

What is a Physical Therapist?

Badger Alaska DPT assisting woman to walk

Physical therapists practice in diverse locations, including Badger AK hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a course of treatment to address the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Strokes
  • Heart attacks
  • Sports injuries
  • Burn injuries
  • Hip Replacement
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Multiple Sclerosis

Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Badger AK medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also manage several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees

Badger Alaska physical therapist working with man in pool

There are 3 physical therapy degrees available for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is attainable that qualifies the graduate to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief descriptions of degree levels that are offered to prospective students in the Badger AK area:

  • Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically offered by community or junior 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 designed as pre-physical therapy education to prep candidates to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor's degrees, they generally require 4 years to finish and often incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want to become a practicing licensed 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 3 years to finish, making the overall commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential element in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not only 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 United States. Some practicing physical therapists having a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapy Online Degrees

Badger Alaska female student taking physical therapist courses onlineAlthough not as common as the on campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapist degrees available, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Badger AK home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat lower than comparable on campus options, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.

Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges

By now you probably have come to decision regarding some of your initial queries, like the kind of physical therapy degree you intend to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Badger AK area and throughout Alaska, you'll have to look into additional qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of school options. Moreover, you want to make sure that you enroll in the college that is right for you. That's why we have put together a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are reviewing have received 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 choose an online school, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapist school and program you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the Program's Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it's important that the school and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can investigate a PT program's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with several Badger AK physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your college selections. It may also be a good idea to check with the Alaska Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? There are a two important statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapy schools you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students dropped out due to 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 school's job placement program, particularly in the Badger AK area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps excellent. It also verifies that the program has a broad network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the school you choose furnishes both superior training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the physical therapist colleges you are assessing have associations with Badger AK clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Badger medical community and assist with job placement after licensing.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapy program also.

Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they select will need to be within driving distance of their Badger AK residence. Those who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally 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 Help Offered? Most DPT schools provide some type of financial support to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are considering have a financial aid office and see what kind of aid is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance may be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapist program you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Badger AK area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Badger Online Physical Therapist Programs

Enroll in the Best Badger Physical Therapy School

Selecting the ideal physical therapist college is an important initial decision you need to make to begin a gratifying career in the health care field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you pick should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. But there are other critical questions that you should ask regarding your college of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapy program keep in mind that numerous variables will lead you toward your final decision. You may want to go to different campuses to see their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the ideal selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Badger Alaska.


 

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