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How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapist School Near Big Park Arizona

Big Park Arizona physical therapist working with woman holding balance ballGetting a physical therapist degree near Big Park AZ is an important first step to starting a fulfilling career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled due to illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it's necessary to research those you are thinking about to make certain they will supply a superior education and satisfy your state's licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is enroll in a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be evaluated besides location and cost. 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 the options for education.

What is a Physical Therapist's Job Description?

Big Park Arizona DPT helping woman to walk

Physical therapists work in diverse settings, such as Big Park AZ hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to address the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Strokes
  • Heart attacks
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Fire injuries
  • Hip Replacement
  • Sciatica
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Big Park AZ medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees

Big Park Arizona DPT working with man in pool

There are three physical therapist degrees available for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is available 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 prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short summaries of degrees that are offered to prospective students in the Big Park AZ area:

  • Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are most often offered by community or junior colleges, and require two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually part of the course of study.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy training to prepare candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor's degrees, they typically require four years to finish and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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 three years to finish, making the total commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an intregal element in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in a number of 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 eliminated and is no longer attainable in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapist Degrees Online

Big Park Arizona woman taking physical therapy training onlineWhile not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy programs available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the program may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Big Park AZ residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition might be significantly less than similar on-campus options, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.

Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Programs

At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding a few of your preliminary queries, including the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Big Park AZ area and across Arizona, you'll need to look into other qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of school choices. Also, you need to make certain that you pick the school that is right for you. That's the reason we have collected a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are thinking about. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited?  Ask if the programs you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier mentioned, 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 school, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapist school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the School's Reputation? Along with accreditation, it's essential that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT college'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 agencies for their reviews as well. Call some Big Park AZ physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your program selections. It may also be a good idea to check with the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.

What is the School's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapy schools you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Big Park AZ area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even excellent. It also verifies that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students get internships or employment after graduation.

Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the program you select provides both superior training and a curriculum that supports 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) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are reviewing have partnerships with Big Park AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Big Park health care community and help with job placement once licensed.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program also.

Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Big Park AZ residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online naturally 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 might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Aid Offered? The majority of DPT colleges offer some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid office and see what kind of help is available. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. A number of physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid may be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapy school you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Big Park AZ area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Big Park Physical Therapist Majors

Enroll in the Right Big Park Physical Therapy School

Picking the best physical therapist school is a necessary initial decision you must make to launch a gratifying career in the healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you decide on should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. However there are other important questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapy school keep in mind that a number of factors will lead you to your final decision. You might decide to visit different schools to view their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me achieve 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 right choice. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Big Park Arizona.


 

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