How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapist College Near Arizona City Arizona
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Arizona City AZ is an important first step to starting a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated as a result of injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the appropriate training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it's important to investigate those you are considering to make certain they will provide a superior education and comply with your state's licensing requirements. What you should not do is choose a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be considered along with 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?
Physical therapists practice in varying locations, including Arizona City AZ hospitals, health clinics, 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 experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they create a course of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries
- Heart attacks
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Fire injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Arizona City AZ medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, 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 keep in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are three physical therapist degree options offered for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is offered 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 prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are brief summaries of degree levels that are offered to prospective students in the Arizona City AZ area:
- Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are typically provided by junior or community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually part of the program.
- Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to ready candidates to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor's degrees, they normally require four years to complete and usually include 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 must also be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). After earning the bachelor's degree, the doctoral takes three years to finish, making the overall investment of time 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential element in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in several states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has taken the place of the Master's of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out 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 Degrees
Although not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, 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, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Arizona City AZ residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat less than similar on-campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
By now you most likely have come to decision concerning several of your preliminary queries, including the kind of physical therapy degree you want to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Arizona City AZ area and across Arizona, you'll have to explore additional qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Also, you need to make certain that you choose the program that is right for you. That's why we have collected a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Ask if the schools you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional 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 choose an online program, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not just the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College's Ranking? Along with accreditation, it's essential that the school and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT school's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Contact some Arizona City AZ physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your school options. It may also be a good idea to check with the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? There are a two important statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Arizona City AZ area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also confirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the program you enroll in furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing. In each 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, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the physical therapy programs you are assessing have relationships with Arizona City AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional connections in the Arizona City healthcare community and help with job placement once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program also.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Arizona City AZ residence. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing 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 may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
Is Financial Support Provided? The majority of DPT schools offer some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial aid office and find out what kind of aid is obtainable. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapy school you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Arizona City AZ area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Arizona City Physical Therapist School
Choosing the best physical therapy program is a necessary initial decision you have to make to launch a rewarding career in the medical profession. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you select should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. However there are other critical questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapy college bear in mind that many variables will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You may decide to visit each of the colleges to see their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program 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 appropriate choice. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Arizona City Arizona.