Home >> Arizona >> Apache Junction >> Physical Therapy Schools


Receive Free Info on Physical Therapy Schools Apache Junction AZ 85117

How to Find the Right Physical Therapy Program Near Apache Junction Arizona

Apache Junction Arizona physical therapist working with woman holding exercise ballObtaining a physical therapy degree near Apache Junction AZ is an important first step to launching a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated due to illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the proper training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it's necessary to evaluate the ones you are considering to ensure they will deliver a superior education and comply with your state's licensing standards. What you should not do is choose a college just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be considered in addition to 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 the options for education.

What is a Physical Therapist's Job Description?

Apache Junction Arizona DPT helping female patient to walk

Physical therapists work in diverse settings, including Apache Junction AZ hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Head injuries
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Burn injuries
  • Hip Replacement
  • Sciatica
  • Multiple Sclerosis

Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Apache Junction AZ health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees

Apache Junction Arizona physical therapist working with man in pool

There are 3 physical therapist degrees available for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the one degree that is attainable that qualifies the graduate to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degrees that are available to prospective students in the Apache Junction AZ area:

  • Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are usually made available by community or junior colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a component of the course of study.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy education to ready students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor's degrees, they typically require four years to complete and often incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are mandated in order 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 investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal component along with the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, 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. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapist Online Colleges

Apache Junction Arizona female student taking physical therapy courses onlineAlthough not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, 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 combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Apache Junction AZ residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition might be significantly lower than comparable on-campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.

What to Ask Physical Therapy Programs

By now you probably have made a decision concerning several of your initial queries, such as the type of physical therapist degree you intend to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the Apache Junction AZ area and across Arizona, you'll need to explore additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college options. Also, you need to make certain that you select the school that is ideal for you. That's why we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited?  Ask if the programs you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national 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 choose an online college, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapy school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program's Standing? Along with accreditation, it's essential that the school and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT program's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Contact some Apache Junction AZ physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your program selections. It may also be a good idea to contact the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.

What is the College's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may 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 hired with the help of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Apache Junction AZ area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps excellent. It also verifies that the school has a broad network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It's important that the program you enroll in provides both exceptional training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for Arizona or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internships Offered? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are reviewing have associations with Apache Junction AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to receive practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students develop professional connections in the Apache Junction medical community and help with job placement after licensing.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapy program also.

Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Apache Junction AZ home. Those who have chosen 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 importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally 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 Aid Provided? 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 aid is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance may be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapist program you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Apache Junction AZ area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.

Learn More About Apache Junction Online Physical Therapy Schools

Enroll in the Best Apache Junction Physical Therapy School

Picking the right physical therapy school is an important first decision you need to make to begin a gratifying career in the healthcare profession. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you enroll in should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. However there are other relevant questions that you should ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapy college bear in mind that a number of variables will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You might want to visit each of the colleges to view their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following 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 necessary training and education, you can achieve your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Apache Junction Arizona.


 

Apache Junction Physical Therapy Major Programs | Main | Apache Junction Physical Therapist Schools