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How to Choose the Right Physical Therapist Program Near Anthem Arizona

Anthem Arizona physical therapist working with female patient holding balance ballEarning a physical therapy degree near Anthem AZ is a critical first step to launching a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled due to illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it's necessary to research those you are thinking about to make certain they will deliver a quality education and comply with your state's licensing requirements. What you should not do is select a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be considered besides location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we'll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.

What Does a Physical Therapist Do?

Anthem Arizona DPT assisting woman to walk

Physical therapists work in a variety of settings, including Anthem AZ private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Head injuries
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Burn injuries
  • Hip Replacement
  • Sciatica
  • Multiple Sclerosis

Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Anthem AZ medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also supervise several 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 entering the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degree Options

Anthem Arizona physical therapist working with patient in pool

There are 3 physical therapist degree options offered for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is attainable that qualifies the graduate to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief summaries of degrees that are offered to prospective students in the Anthem AZ area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are usually made available by community colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a component of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy training to ready students to progress 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. As with most bachelor's degrees, they typically require 4 years to complete and commonly incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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 overall commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential element in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not just for graduation but in several states for licensing also.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master's of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer available in the USA. A number of practicing physical therapists having a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapist Online Degrees

Anthem Arizona female student taking physical therapy courses onlineWhile not as common as the on campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, even more 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 close to the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online part of the course of study can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Anthem AZ home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition may be somewhat lower than comparable on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.

Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Schools

By now you probably have made a decision concerning several of your initial questions, like the type of physical therapist degree you want to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Anthem AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll have to explore other qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college options. Also, you want to make sure that you select the school that is ideal for you. That's the reason we have collected a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering. Ask all of the competing schools these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited?  Find out if the schools you are looking at have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As earlier stated, 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 college, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapist program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from 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 and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the College's Ranking? Along with accreditation, it's essential that the school and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can research a PT school's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Get in touch with some Anthem AZ physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your college options. It may also be prudent to contact the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the College's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two important statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist programs you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After 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 college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even exceptional. It also verifies that the school has a broad network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment after graduation.

Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the college you select provides both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria for Arizona 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 therapist school. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the physical therapist programs you are assessing have partnerships with Anthem AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students develop professional connections in the Anthem health care community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are considering 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 decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program also.

Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Anthem AZ residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Aid Provided? The majority of DPT schools offer some type of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department and see what type of aid is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. A number of physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid might be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapist school you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Anthem AZ area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.

Learn More About Anthem Physical Therapy Degrees

Choose the Right Anthem Physical Therapist School

Choosing the ideal physical therapist program is a necessary initial decision you need to make to launch a gratifying career in the healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you select should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are additional critical questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist program bear in mind that a number of variables will guide you to your ultimate decision. You might want to visit different colleges to view their facilities and talk with active 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 adhering to our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Anthem Arizona.


 

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