How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapist School Near Arizona City Arizona
Obtaining a physical therapy degree near Arizona City AZ is an important first step to launching a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated due to illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the appropriate training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it's necessary to investigate the ones you are thinking about to ensure they will supply a superior education and meet your state's licensing standards. What you should not do is choose a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be considered along with location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we'll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists work in diverse locations, such as Arizona City AZ hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes 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 patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries
- Heart attacks
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Burn 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 can also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapist degrees offered for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is offered that qualifies the graduate to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief descriptions of degrees that are available to prospective students in the Arizona City AZ area:
- Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically provided by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically part of the program.
- Bachelor's Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to ready students to advance 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 four years to complete and commonly incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required 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). After earning the bachelor's degree, the doctoral takes three years to finish, making the total investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an important element along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in some states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master's of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer attainable in the United States. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Schools Online
While not as prevalent as the on-campus alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online part of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Arizona City AZ residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition can be somewhat lower than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
By now you probably have made a decision concerning several of your initial questions, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you intend to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are so many PT colleges within the Arizona City AZ area and across Arizona, you'll have to explore other qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of school options. Moreover, you want to make sure that you choose the program that is ideal for you. That's why we have collected a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Ask if the schools you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national 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 select an online college, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Also, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's imperative that the school and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several ways you can research a PT school's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact some Arizona City AZ physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your program selections. It might also be prudent to check with the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of useful statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the assistance of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Arizona City AZ area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even excellent. It also confirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's important that the school you choose furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are interested in have relationships with Arizona City AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to receive practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Arizona City medical community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapy program also.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapist school they select will need to be within driving distance of their Arizona City AZ residence. Students who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally 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 Help Provided? Most DPT schools supply some form of financial support to their prospective students. Ask if the schools you are considering have a financial aid office and find out what kind of assistance is available. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapist program you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Arizona City AZ area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Arizona City Physical Therapist School
Picking the best physical therapist school is an important first decision you have to make to start a rewarding career in the medical profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you decide on should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are other relevant questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapy program bear in mind that a number of factors will lead you to your final decision. You might want to go to different colleges to see their facilities and talk 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 field so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Arizona City Arizona.