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How to Choose the Right Physical Therapist Program Near Fishhook Alaska

Fishhook Alaska physical therapist working with female patient holding exercise ballGetting a physical therapist degree near Fishhook AK is an essential first step to starting a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated due to injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the proper training and education. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it's essential to evaluate those you are looking at to make sure they will provide a superior education and comply with your state's licensing criteria. What you should not do is select a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be considered in addition to location and cost. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we'll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.

What Do Physical Therapists Do?

Fishhook Alaska physical therapist helping woman to walk

Physical therapists practice in varying settings, such as Fishhook AK private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they design a program of treatment to address the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Strokes
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Sports injuries
  • Burn injuries
  • Hip Replacement
  • Sciatica
  • Multiple Sclerosis

Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Fishhook AK health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees

Fishhook Alaska physical therapist working with patient in pool

There are three physical therapist degrees available for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is offered that qualifies the graduate to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degrees that are offered to prospective students in the Fishhook AK area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often offered by community colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically part of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to prep students to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor's degrees, they typically require 4 years to complete and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are required 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 3 years to complete, making the total commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an important component along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in several 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 available in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists having a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapy Colleges Online

Fishhook Alaska female student taking physical therapy courses onlineWhile not as prevalent as the on-campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees available, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Fishhook AK home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat less than similar on-campus options, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges

By now you most likely have made a decision concerning several of your preliminary questions, such as the type of physical therapy degree you would like to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are so many PT schools within the Fishhook AK area and throughout Alaska, you'll have to explore additional qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of school options. Furthermore, you want to make certain that you pick the school that is ideal for you. That's why we have put together a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited?  Find out if the colleges you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. 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 select an online school, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program's Reputation? Along with accreditation, it's imperative that the school and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can research a PT program's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call a few Fishhook AK physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your program options. It might also be prudent to check with the Alaska Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapy schools you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students left due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Fishhook AK area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even outstanding. It also confirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the program you select furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies 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 therapy college. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internships Provided? Find out if the physical therapy programs you are interested in have associations with Fishhook AK hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Fishhook health care community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few 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 school they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Fishhook AK residence. Students who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern 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 college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? The majority of DPT schools provide some type of financial aid to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of assistance is available. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance might be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapy college you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Fishhook AK area, verify 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 need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Fishhook Physical Therapy Majors

Choose the Best Fishhook Physical Therapist School

Picking the ideal physical therapy school is an important initial decision you must make to begin a rewarding career in the healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you enroll in should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. However there are additional critical questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapy school bear in mind that a number of variables will lead you to your ultimate decision. You may want to visit different campuses to view their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the ideal selection. And with the proper education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Fishhook Alaska.


 

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