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How to Pick the Right Physical Therapist College Near Arizona City Arizona

Arizona City Arizona physical therapist working with female patient using balance ballReceiving a physical therapy degree near Arizona City AZ is an important first step to starting a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled due to injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the proper education and training. A PT must also become licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it's necessary to evaluate the ones you are thinking about to make sure they will furnish a quality education and comply with your state's licensing criteria. What you should not do is select a college just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be evaluated besides location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we'll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.

What is a Physical Therapist?

Arizona City Arizona physical therapist helping female patient to walk

Physical therapists practice in varying locations, including Arizona City AZ hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Strokes
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Fire injuries
  • Knee Replacement
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Arizona City AZ medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating 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 routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees Available

Arizona City Arizona physical therapist working with man in pool

There are three physical therapy degrees available for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is available 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 progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief explanations of degree levels that are available to prospective students in the Arizona City AZ area:

  • Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are most often made available by community colleges, and require two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a portion of the program.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist education to prepare students to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor's degrees, they generally take four years to finish and commonly 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 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 complete, making the total commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential element in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not only 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 offered in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapy Schools Online

Arizona City Arizona woman taking physical therapist classes onlineAlthough not as common as the on-campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs 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 college campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the curriculum can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Arizona City AZ home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition may be somewhat less than similar on-campus options, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.

What to Ask Physical Therapy Programs

By now you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding several of your preliminary queries, like the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the Arizona City AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll have to look into other qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Furthermore, you want to be sure that you pick the college that is ideal for you. That's why we have collected a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited?  Ask if the programs you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As earlier 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 earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the College's Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it's essential that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can research a PT program's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Contact several Arizona City AZ physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your college options. It may also be a good idea to contact the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the schools.

What is the College's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of important statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapy colleges you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the help of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Arizona City AZ area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or even outstanding. It also verifies that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students get internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the program you choose provides both excellent training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing have associations with Arizona City AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to get practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Arizona City healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are looking at what the typical 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 an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapy program as well.

Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapist school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Arizona City AZ home. Students who have chosen 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 importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Aid Offered? The majority of DPT schools offer some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are examining have a financial aid department and find out what type of aid is offered. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. A number of physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance may be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapy college you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Arizona City AZ area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.

Find Out More About Arizona City Online Physical Therapist Colleges

Choose the Right Arizona City Physical Therapy School

Choosing the right physical therapist program is a necessary first decision you need to make to launch a rewarding career in the health care profession. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you enroll in should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are additional critical questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist school bear in mind that numerous factors will guide you to your ultimate decision. You may want to go to each of the campuses to view their facilities and speak to 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 have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the best selection. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Arizona City Arizona.


 

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