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How to Pick the Right Physical Therapy Program Near Kalifornsky Alaska

Kalifornsky Alaska physical therapist working with woman holding exercise ballGetting a physical therapist degree near Kalifornsky AK is an important first step to launching a rewarding career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated due to illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it's important to evaluate the ones you are looking at to make certain they will furnish a superior education and satisfy your state's licensing standards. What you do not want to do is choose a college just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be considered in addition to location and cost. But before we talk about 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 Does a Physical Therapist Do?

Kalifornsky Alaska physical therapist helping female patient to walk

Physical therapists practice in a variety of settings, including Kalifornsky AK private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a course of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:

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

Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Kalifornsky AK health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees

Kalifornsky Alaska DPT working with patient in pool

There are three physical therapy degree options available for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is available that qualifies the graduate to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degrees that are available to prospective students in the Kalifornsky AK area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or can 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 programs are most often made available by community or junior colleges, and require 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically a component of the course of study.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training to ready students 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 practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor's degrees, they typically require four years to complete and commonly 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 also must 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 overall investment of time seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal component in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in some states for licensing also.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has taken the place of the Master's of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer available in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists holding 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 Therapist Online Schools

Kalifornsky Alaska woman taking physical therapy training onlineAlthough not as common as the on-campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online segment of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Kalifornsky AK home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat less than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Programs

By now you probably have come to decision concerning some of your preliminary queries, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you intend to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Kalifornsky AK area and across Alaska, you'll need to research other qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school choices. Moreover, you want to make certain that you choose the college that is right for you. That's the reason we have collected a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering. Ask each of the potential schools these questions before making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited?  Ask if the programs you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you select an online program, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the College's Ranking? Along with accreditation, it's important that the college and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several ways you can look into a PT school's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call several Kalifornsky AK physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your program selections. It might also be prudent to check with the Alaska Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.

What is the School's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapist colleges you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students left because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Kalifornsky AK area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also verifies that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the school you choose provides both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for Alaska or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapy colleges you are assessing have relationships with Kalifornsky AK hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to get hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Kalifornsky healthcare community and assist with job placement after licensing.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapy program also.

Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Kalifornsky AK residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to keep 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 may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Help Provided? The majority of DPT schools supply some type of financial support to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid department and find out what kind of help is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance may be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapist program you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Kalifornsky AK area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Learn More About Kalifornsky Online Physical Therapist Schools

Choose the Best Kalifornsky Physical Therapist School

Choosing the right physical therapist school is a necessary first 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 decide on should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are additional relevant questions that you should ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapist program bear in mind that many variables will lead you toward your final decision. You may want to go to different schools to see their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me achieve my goal of becoming a practicing licensed 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 choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can achieve your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Kalifornsky Alaska.


 

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