How to Select the Right Physical Therapist Course Near Bisbee Arizona
Getting a physical therapy degree near Bisbee AZ is an important first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients 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 necessary training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it's important to evaluate those you are thinking about to make certain they will deliver a quality education and satisfy your state's licensing criteria. What you should not do is choose a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be considered along with cost and location. 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?
Physical therapists practice in varying locations, such as Bisbee 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 stated, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries
- Heart attacks
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Burn injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Bisbee AZ health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapist degrees available for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is attainable that qualifies the graduate to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief explanations of degrees that are available to prospective students in the Bisbee AZ area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are usually offered by junior or community colleges, and require two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a component of the program.
- Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to ready candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor's degrees, they generally take four years to finish and often incorporate an internship program of at least 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 three years to complete, making the overall commitment seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential element along with the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not only 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 phased out and is no longer available in the United States. A number of 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 Online Colleges
While not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy programs available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature 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 an available internship. However, the online part of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Bisbee AZ home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition might be significantly less than similar on-campus options, and costs for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
By now you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding a few of your initial questions, like the type of physical therapist degree you would like to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are so many PT colleges within the Bisbee AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll need to research additional qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Moreover, you want to make sure that you select the program that is ideal for you. That's why we have put together a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions prior to making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Find out if the programs you are looking at have received 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 can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapy school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the College's Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it's important that the school and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can research a PT college's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Call a few Bisbee AZ physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your college 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 College's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two important statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Bisbee AZ area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps excellent. It also affirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It's important that the program you select provides both excellent training and a course of study 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the physical therapist schools you are interested in have associations with Bisbee AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Bisbee healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are looking at 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 converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapy program as well.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Bisbee AZ home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something 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 be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often 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 Support Offered? The majority of DPT schools supply some type of financial support to their potential students. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial aid office and find out what kind of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. Some physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapist school you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Bisbee AZ area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Bisbee Physical Therapy School
Selecting the best physical therapy school is an important initial decision you have to make to begin a fulfilling career in the medical profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you select should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are additional relevant questions that you need to ask regarding your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapy college bear in mind that numerous variables will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might want to go to different colleges to view their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Bisbee Arizona.