Home >> Alaska >> Meadow Lakes >> Physical Therapist Degrees


Request Free Info on Physical Therapist Courses Meadow Lakes AK 99623

How to Choose the Right Physical Therapy College Near Meadow Lakes Alaska

Meadow Lakes Alaska physical therapist working with woman using balance ballReceiving a physical therapy degree near Meadow Lakes AK is a critical first step to starting a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the proper training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it's important to investigate the ones you are thinking about to ensure they will deliver a quality education and satisfy your state's licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is select a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be considered besides cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we'll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.

What is a Physical Therapist's Job Description?

Meadow Lakes Alaska physical therapist helping woman to walk

Physical therapists practice in a variety of settings, including Meadow Lakes AK private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to address the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Strokes
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Sports injuries
  • Burn injuries
  • Knee Replacement
  • Sciatica
  • Multiple Sclerosis

Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Meadow Lakes AK health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees Offered

Meadow Lakes Alaska DPT working with man in pool

There are 3 physical therapy degrees available for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is attainable 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 readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are brief descriptions of degrees that are offered to prospective students in the Meadow Lakes AK area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are usually made available by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a portion of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy training to prep candidates to progress to the doctoral level. While 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 normally require 4 years to finish and commonly incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are mandated in order to become a practicing licensed 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 complete, making the total commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential element in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not just 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 offered in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapy Online Schools

Meadow Lakes Alaska female student taking physical therapist courses onlineAlthough not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of 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 in proximity of an available internship. However, the online part of the program may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Meadow Lakes AK home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat lower than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.

Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Schools

By now you probably have come to decision regarding several of your preliminary queries, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Meadow Lakes AK area and across Alaska, you'll need to research additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school options. Furthermore, you want to make certain that you enroll in the program that is ideal for you. That's why we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are considering. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited?  Ask if the colleges you are looking at have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously mentioned, 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 school, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's essential that the school and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can research a PT program's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Contact several Meadow Lakes AK physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your program options. It may 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 School's Job Placement Rate? There are a two relevant statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Meadow Lakes AK area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even excellent. It also confirms that the school has a large network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It's important that the program you enroll in furnishes both excellent 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) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internships Provided? Find out if the physical therapist schools you are interested in have partnerships with Meadow Lakes AK clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional connections in the Meadow Lakes healthcare community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapy program as well.

Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Meadow Lakes AK home. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Most DPT colleges supply some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are considering have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of help is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. Some physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance may be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapy college you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Meadow Lakes AK area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.

Learn More About Meadow Lakes Physical Therapy Majors

Enroll in the Best Meadow Lakes Physical Therapy School

Selecting the ideal physical therapist school is a necessary first decision you need to make to launch a gratifying career in the healthcare profession. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you enroll in should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are other relevant questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapy program keep in mind that a number of variables will guide you to your final decision. You might want to visit each of the schools to view their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me reach my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the right selection. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Meadow Lakes Alaska.


 

Meadow Lakes Physical Therapy Degrees | Main | Meadow Lakes Physical Therapy Major Programs