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How to Pick the Right Physical Therapist Course Near Badger Alaska

Badger Alaska physical therapist working with female patient holding balance ballObtaining a physical therapy degree near Badger AK is a critical first step to beginning a rewarding career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated due to illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the proper education and training. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it's essential to research those you are considering to make certain they will supply a superior education and satisfy your state's licensing standards. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be evaluated in addition to cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we'll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.

What Do Physical Therapists Do?

Badger Alaska DPT assisting woman to walk

Physical therapists practice in varying settings, such as Badger AK hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to prevent any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Strokes
  • Heart attacks
  • Sports injuries
  • Burn injuries
  • Hip Replacement
  • Sciatica
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Badger AK medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to take note of for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged 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 offered for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is available that qualifies the graduate to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degree levels that are offered to prospective students in the Badger AK area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually provided by junior or community colleges, and require two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a component of the course of study.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy training to ready candidates to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor's degrees, they generally take four years to finish and often include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are required 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 complete, making the total investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an important component in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in some states for licensing as well.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master's of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer attainable in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists having a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapist Online Colleges

Badger Alaska female student taking physical therapist courses onlineAlthough not as prevalent as the more traditional options, there are some accredited online physical therapy programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online part of the curriculum can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Badger AK residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition might be somewhat less than comparable on campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.

Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges

By now you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding a few of your preliminary queries, including the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money 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 research additional qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of college choices. Also, you want to make sure that you enroll in the school that is right for you. That's the reason we have compiled a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist programs you are considering. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online college, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to 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 Program's Reputation? Along with accreditation, it's important that the college and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several ways you can research a PT school's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with several Badger AK physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your program options. It might also be a good idea to contact the Alaska Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? There are a two important statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapy schools you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Badger AK area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also verifies that the school has a wide network of contacts to help students get internships or employment after graduation.

Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's important that the program you select 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 needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapy colleges you are evaluating have relationships with Badger AK hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Badger medical community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapy program also.

Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Badger AK residence. Those who have chosen to attend classes online obviously 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 choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Support Offered? Most DPT colleges offer some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department and see what kind of aid is available. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. Some physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance might be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapy program you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Badger AK area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out 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 work, illness or family emergencies.

Learn More About Badger Online Physical Therapist Schools

Choose the Best Badger Physical Therapist School

Picking the ideal physical therapist program is a necessary initial decision you need to make to begin a rewarding career in the healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you choose should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are other critical questions that you need to ask pertaining to your school of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapy program keep in mind that a number of factors will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You may decide to go to each of the colleges to see their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the right selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Badger Alaska.


 

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