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How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapist Training Program Near Arizona City Arizona

Arizona City Arizona physical therapist working with female patient holding balance ballObtaining a physical therapist degree near Arizona City AZ is a critical first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the healthcare 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 provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it's necessary to research the ones you are thinking about to ensure they will furnish a superior education and meet your state's licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is choose a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be considered in addition to location and cost. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we'll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.

What Does a Physical Therapist Do?

Arizona City Arizona DPT assisting woman to walk

Physical therapists practice in varying settings, including Arizona City AZ private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Strokes
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Sports injuries
  • Burn injuries
  • Knee Replacement
  • Sciatica
  • Multiple Sclerosis

Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Arizona City AZ health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees Available

Arizona City Arizona DPT working with patient in pool

There are three physical therapist degree options offered for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one degree that is attainable that qualifies the graduate to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief descriptions of degree levels that are available to prospective students in the Arizona City AZ area:

  • Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are usually provided by community or junior colleges, and take about two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically part of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to prep students to move up 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. As with the majority of bachelor's degrees, they generally require four years to finish and often incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 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). In addition to the bachelor's degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to finish, making the overall commitment seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal component along with the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in several states for licensing as well.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master's of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer offered in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapy Degrees Online

Arizona City Arizona female student taking physical therapy courses onlineAlthough not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the course of study can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Arizona City AZ residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition may be significantly less than comparable on campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.

Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Schools

By now you most likely have come to decision concerning a few of your initial questions, including 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 because there are numerous PT schools within the Arizona City AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll have to explore other qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of college options. Furthermore, you need to make certain that you pick the college that is ideal for you. That's why we have compiled a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited?  Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. 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 enroll in an online college, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapist school and program you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's essential that the school and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist community. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT college's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with some Arizona City AZ physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your school options. It may also be prudent to check with the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.

What is the Program's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapist colleges you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest that students left due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Arizona City AZ area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps excellent. It also affirms that the college has a large network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment after graduation.

Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the college you choose provides both exceptional training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working. 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. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapy programs you are reviewing have relationships with Arizona City AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Arizona City health care community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide 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 reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program also.

Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Arizona City AZ home. Those who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually 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 Offered? Most DPT schools offer some form of financial aid to their potential students. Find out if the colleges you are examining have a financial assistance office and see what kind of help is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. Some physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid may be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapy program you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Arizona City AZ area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Arizona City Physical Therapy Programs

Choose the Best Arizona City Physical Therapist School

Selecting the right physical therapy school is an important initial decision you need to make to start a rewarding career in the medical field. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you enroll in should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are other critical questions that you should ask concerning your school of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapy school bear in mind that many factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You may decide to visit each of the campuses to see their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me reach my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can achieve your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Arizona City Arizona.


 

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