Home >> Alaska >> Wasilla >> Physical Therapy Degrees


Request Free Information on Physical Therapy Degree Majors Wasilla AK 99629

How to Choose the Right Physical Therapist Program Near Wasilla Alaska

Wasilla Alaska physical therapist working with female patient using exercise ballReceiving a physical therapist degree near Wasilla AK is an important first step to beginning a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled due to injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the proper training and education. A PT must also become licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it's important to evaluate the ones you are considering to ensure they will furnish a superior education and meet your state's licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is enroll in a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be evaluated 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?

Wasilla Alaska physical therapist assisting woman to walk

Physical therapists practice in varying settings, including Wasilla 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 stated, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Head injuries
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Fire injuries
  • Knee Replacement
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Wasilla AK health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees Available

Wasilla Alaska DPT working with patient in pool

There are 3 physical therapist degrees available for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is available that qualifies the graduate to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short explanations of degrees that are available to prospective students in the Wasilla AK area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are typically offered by community colleges, and take about two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a component of the program.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy training to ready candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor's degrees, they generally require 4 years to complete and commonly incorporate 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). In addition to the bachelor's degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to finish, making the total investment of time 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an important element along with the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in a number of 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. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapist Online Colleges

Wasilla Alaska woman taking physical therapist training onlineWhile not as common 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 structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online portion of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Wasilla AK residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat less than comparable on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.

Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Schools

At this point you probably have made a decision concerning a few of your initial questions, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you intend to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Wasilla AK area and throughout Alaska, you'll have to look into additional qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of college options. Also, you want to make certain that you pick the college that is ideal for you. That's why we have put together a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited?  Ask if the schools you are considering have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As earlier stated, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree 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 obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the College's Standing? Along with accreditation, it's imperative that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can research a PT college'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 agencies for their reviews as well. Get in touch with some Wasilla AK physical therapy centers or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your college options. It might also be a good idea to contact the Alaska Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.

What is the College's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapy programs you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students left because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the assistance of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Wasilla AK area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also affirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's important that the program you choose provides both excellent training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internships Provided? Ask if the physical therapist colleges you are interested in have associations with Wasilla AK hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Wasilla healthcare community and assist with job placement once licensed.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program also.

Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Wasilla AK residence. Those who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. 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 usually 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 Help Offered? Most DPT schools supply some type of financial support to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at have a financial aid department and see what type of assistance is available. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance may be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapist school you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Wasilla AK area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Wasilla Physical Therapist Colleges

Enroll in the Right Wasilla Physical Therapy School

Selecting the best physical therapy program is an important first decision you have to make to launch a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you enroll in should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. But there are additional important questions that you should ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapist program bear in mind that a number of factors will guide you toward your final decision. You might decide to go to each of the schools to see their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me realize 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 options so you can make the best choice. And with the proper education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Wasilla Alaska.


 

Wasilla Physical Therapist Schools | Main | Wasilla Physical Therapist Degrees