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

Big Park Arizona physical therapist working with female patient holding exercise ballReceiving a physical therapist degree near Big Park AZ is a critical first step to beginning a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled due to illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it's essential to evaluate the ones you are thinking about to ensure they will provide a quality education and satisfy your state's licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is choose a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the lowest 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 what questions you should ask, we'll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.

What Do Physical Therapists Do?

Big Park Arizona DPT helping female patient to walk

Physical therapists work in diverse locations, including Big Park AZ private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a program of treatment to address the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Head injuries
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Sports injuries
  • Fire injuries
  • Knee Replacement
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Big Park AZ medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degree Options

Big Park Arizona DPT working with patient in pool

There are three physical therapist degree options available for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is available that qualifies the graduate to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short explanations 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 GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually provided by community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a portion of the course of study.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to prepare candidates to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor's degrees, they typically require four years to finish and usually 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 complete, making the overall investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal component in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not solely 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 phased out and is no longer offered in the USA. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapy Online Colleges

Big Park Arizona female student taking physical therapy training onlineWhile not as common as the on campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs available, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online part of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Big Park AZ home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition can be significantly less than comparable on-campus options, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Schools

By now you most likely have made a decision regarding some of your initial questions, including the type of physical therapist degree you want to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are so many PT schools within the Big Park AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll need to explore additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school options. Furthermore, you want to be sure that you enroll in the program that is right for you. That's the reason we have collected a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering. Ask each of the competing schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are reviewing have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. 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 school, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapist program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the School's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's imperative that the college and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT program's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call several Big Park AZ physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your program options. It might also be a good idea to contact the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.

What is the School's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, 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 Big Park AZ area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also verifies that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the program you enroll in furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that supports 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 college. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internships Offered? Find out if the physical therapy programs you are evaluating have partnerships with Big Park AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional connections in the Big Park healthcare community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program also.

Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Big Park AZ home. Students who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Help Provided? The majority of DPT colleges provide some form of financial support to their prospective students. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department and see what kind of help is obtainable. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. Some physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid may be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapy program you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Big Park AZ area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.

Find Out More About Big Park Online Physical Therapist Degrees

Enroll in the Right Big Park Physical Therapist School

Choosing the right physical therapy college is an important initial decision you must make to start a rewarding career in the healthcare profession. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you pick should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. However there are other important questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapy school keep in mind that many variables will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might decide to visit 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 realize 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 selection. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Big Park Arizona.


 

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