How to Pick the Right Physical Therapist Program Near Badger Alaska
Obtaining a physical therapy degree near Badger AK is a critical first step to launching a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated due to injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the necessary training and education. A PT must also become licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it's necessary to investigate those you are thinking about to ensure they will furnish a superior education and meet your state's licensing standards. What you do not want to do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be considered along with location and cost. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we'll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists practice in varying settings, such as Badger AK private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also strive to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries
- Heart attacks
- Sports injuries
- Burn injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Badger AK health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Offered
There are three physical therapy degrees offered for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is offered that qualifies the graduate to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short explanations of degrees that are available to prospective students in the Badger AK area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are usually made available by junior or community colleges, and take about two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a portion of the program.
- Bachelor's Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy training to prep students to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor's degrees, they typically take four years to finish and often incorporate 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 must also be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). In addition to the bachelor's degree, the doctoral takes three years to finish, making the total investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical training is an intregal element along with the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in some 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 United States. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Colleges Online
While not as common as the more traditional alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so 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 necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online portion of the curriculum can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Badger AK residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat less than comparable on-campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
By now you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning some of your preliminary questions, like the type of physical therapy degree you want to attain, 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 across Alaska, you'll need to explore other qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school choices. Furthermore, you need to make sure that you enroll in the program that is best for you. That's why we have compiled a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Ask if the schools you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate 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 receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College's Standing? Along with accreditation, it's essential that the college and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT program's reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Contact several Badger AK physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your school options. It might also be prudent to contact the Alaska Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the School's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students left due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the assistance of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Badger AK area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps excellent. It also affirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the college you choose furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing. 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 fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are interested in have relationships with Badger AK hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Badger healthcare community and assist with job placement once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher 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 an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist school they select will need to be within driving distance of their Badger AK home. Those who have chosen 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. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? The majority of DPT colleges supply some type of financial aid to their prospective students. Ask if the schools you are looking at have a financial assistance department and see what type of help is available. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. Some physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapy college you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Badger AK area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Badger Physical Therapy School
Choosing the ideal physical therapist school is an important first decision you must make to start a gratifying career in the healthcare profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you pick should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. However there are other critical questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist college keep in mind that numerous factors will lead you to your final decision. You might want to go to each of the colleges to view their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the right selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Badger Alaska.