How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapy College Near Anthem Arizona
Getting a physical therapy degree near Anthem AZ is an essential first step to beginning a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled as a result of injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the appropriate education and training. A PT must also be licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it's essential to investigate the ones you are looking at to ensure they will provide a superior education and comply with your state's licensing standards. What you should not 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 significant qualifications that need to be evaluated along with cost and location. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we'll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists practice in diverse locations, including Anthem AZ hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Burn injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Anthem AZ health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are 3 physical therapist degree options available for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is attainable that qualifies the graduate to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short explanations of degrees that are offered to prospective students in the Anthem AZ area:
- Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically made available by community or junior colleges, and require 2 years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor's Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to prep candidates to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor's degrees, they normally require 4 years to complete and usually incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required 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 three years to complete, making the overall commitment seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an important element in addition to the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not just for graduation but in some states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master's of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer attainable in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Online Degrees
Although not as common as the on campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy 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 requires that the student live near the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online segment of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Anthem AZ home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition may be significantly less than similar on-campus options, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
By now you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning some of your initial questions, such as the type of physical therapy degree you would like to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the Anthem AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll have to look into additional qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of school choices. Furthermore, you want to be sure that you pick the program that is right for you. That's why we have put together a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are considering. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Ask if the schools you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. 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 program, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program's Reputation? Along with accreditation, it's essential that the school and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT program's reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact some Anthem AZ physical therapy centers or other medical care facilities that you may 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 check with the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the Program's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two significant statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapy programs you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might mean that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired 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's an indication that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also verifies that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the college you enroll in provides both excellent training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements 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) in addition to 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 number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are assessing have relationships with Anthem AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Anthem medical community and assist with job placement once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program also.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Anthem AZ residence. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something 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 may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Support Provided? The majority of DPT schools provide some form of financial support to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of aid is offered. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. Some physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapist school you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Anthem AZ area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out 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 due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Anthem Physical Therapy School
Selecting the ideal physical therapy program is an important first decision you must make to begin a gratifying career in the healthcare profession. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you choose should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. However there are other important questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapy program keep in mind that many factors will guide you to your final decision. You may want to visit each of the colleges to view their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me achieve 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 field so you can make the best choice. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Anthem Arizona.