Home >> Arizona >> Avondale >> Physical Therapy Degrees


Receive Free Information on Physical Therapist Degrees Avondale AZ 85039

How to Choose the Right Physical Therapist Program Near Avondale Arizona

Avondale Arizona physical therapist working with female patient using balance ballGetting a physical therapy degree near Avondale AZ is a critical first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled due to injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the proper education and training. A PT must also be licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it's necessary to evaluate those you are thinking about to make sure they will deliver a superior education and meet your state's licensing standards. What you do not want to do is select a school just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated along with cost and location. But before we talk about 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 is a Physical Therapist's Job Description?

Avondale Arizona DPT helping woman to walk

Physical therapists practice in a variety of locations, including Avondale AZ hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Head injuries
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Fire injuries
  • Hip Replacement
  • Sciatica
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Avondale AZ medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also manage several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy field, it is quite 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

Avondale Arizona DPT working with man in pool

There are three physical therapy degree options available for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is available that qualifies the graduate to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short summaries of degrees that are offered to prospective students in the Avondale AZ area:

  • Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are usually offered by community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually part of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy education to prep students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor's degrees, they generally take 4 years to finish and usually 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 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 complete, making the total commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an essential element in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in a number of 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 USA. 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 Programs

Avondale Arizona female student taking physical therapist courses onlineWhile not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, more so 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 near the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online part of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Avondale AZ residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat lower than similar on-campus options, and costs for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.

What to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges

At this point you most likely have come to decision regarding a few of your initial queries, such as the type of physical therapist degree you want to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the Avondale AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll have to look into other qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college options. Moreover, you need to make sure that you pick the school that is right for you. That's why we have compiled a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions before making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited?  Find out if the colleges you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As earlier 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 enroll in an online school, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not just the school. Also, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the College's Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it's important that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can look into a PT program's reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact several Avondale AZ physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your program options. It may 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 Program's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two significant statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapy colleges you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Avondale AZ area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps excellent. It also affirms that the school has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It's important that the program you choose furnishes both superior training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements 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 therapy school. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the physical therapist colleges you are assessing have partnerships with Avondale AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional connections in the Avondale healthcare community and assist with job placement once licensed.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. 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 instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program also.

Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist school they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Avondale AZ home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Help Provided? Most DPT colleges supply some form of financial aid to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of help is offered. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others provide 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 finally you need to verify that the physical therapist college you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Avondale AZ area, check 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 have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Learn More About Avondale Physical Therapy Training

Choose the Best Avondale Physical Therapist School

Picking the right physical therapist college is an important initial decision you need to make to start a fulfilling career in the health care field. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you decide on should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are other important questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapy college bear in mind that many factors will lead you to your final decision. You might decide to go to each of the schools to see their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me achieve my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the best choice. And with the proper education and training, you can accomplish your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Avondale Arizona.


 

Avondale Physical Therapist Schools | Main | Avondale Physical Therapist Degrees