How to Pick the Right Physical Therapist School Near Anthem Arizona
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Anthem AZ is an essential first step to beginning a rewarding career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated due to injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it's necessary to evaluate those you are thinking about to make sure they will deliver a superior education and meet your state's licensing standards. What you should not do is enroll in a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be evaluated along with 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 the options for education.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists work in a variety of settings, such as Anthem AZ private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes 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 previously mentioned, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they create a course of treatment to address the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries
- Cardiac arrest
- Sports injuries
- Fire injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Anthem AZ medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to keep in mind 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 kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are 3 physical therapy degrees available for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is attainable 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 preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief summaries of degree levels that are offered to prospective students in the Anthem AZ area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually provided by community colleges, and take about two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a portion of the curriculum.
- Bachelor's Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy training to ready students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor's degrees, they typically require four years to finish and usually incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want to become a licensed practicing 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 finish, making the total investment of time 7 years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential component along with the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in some states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has taken the place of the Master's of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer attainable in the USA. A number of practicing physical therapists having a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Degrees Online
Although not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs available, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online portion of the course of study can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Anthem AZ residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat less than similar on campus options, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
By now you probably have made a decision concerning several of your initial queries, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you want to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are so many PT schools within the Anthem AZ area and across Arizona, you'll need to explore other qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of college choices. Moreover, you want to make certain that you enroll in the program that is ideal for you. That's the reason we have compiled a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are thinking about. Ask each of the competing schools these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Ask if the programs you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As previously 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 select an online school, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College's Standing? 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 program's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call some Anthem AZ physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your college selections. It might also be prudent to contact the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the School's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of useful statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapy schools you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Anthem AZ 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 outstanding. It also affirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It's important that the school you choose furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria for Arizona or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing have relationships with Anthem AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Anthem medical community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable 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 classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Anthem AZ home. Those who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to 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. Ask if the schools you are looking at have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of help is obtainable. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist college you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Anthem AZ area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative 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 may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Anthem Physical Therapy School
Deciding on the best physical therapy college is a necessary initial decision you need to make to begin a gratifying career in the health care field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you decide on should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are additional important questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapy school keep in mind that numerous variables will lead you to your final decision. You might want to go to each of the campuses to see their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following 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 practicing physical therapist in Anthem Arizona.