How to Choose the Right Physical Therapy Program Near Bisbee Arizona
Receiving a physical therapy degree near Bisbee AZ is an important first step to launching a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated due to illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the proper training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it's necessary to investigate the ones you are considering to make certain they will provide a quality education and satisfy your state's licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is enroll in a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be considered besides cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we'll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists work in varying settings, including Bisbee AZ private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they develop a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks
- Sports injuries
- Fire injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Bisbee AZ health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Offered
There are three physical therapy degree options offered for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is offered that qualifies the graduate to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degrees that are available to prospective students in the Bisbee AZ area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are usually provided by community or junior colleges, and require 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a component of the program.
- Bachelor's Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist training to prepare students to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor's degrees, they generally take 4 years to complete and often incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required if you want to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program must also 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 finish, making the overall investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an intregal element in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in some 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 available in the United States. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Programs Online
While not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online part of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Bisbee AZ residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat less than comparable on campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
At this point you most likely have come to decision concerning some of your preliminary queries, such as the type of physical therapist degree you want to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Bisbee AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll need to look into additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school options. Moreover, you need to make sure that you enroll in the program that is right for you. That's why we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Ask if the schools you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a national or a regional 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 enroll in an online school, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapist school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's important that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are a number of ways you can research a PT program's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with several Bisbee AZ physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your college options. It might also be a good idea to contact the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the School's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of useful statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapy schools you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean that students left due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the help of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Bisbee AZ area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even outstanding. It also verifies that the college has a large network of contacts to help students obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the college you enroll in provides both exceptional training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the physical therapy programs you are interested in have associations with Bisbee AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Bisbee medical community and help with job placement after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit 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 monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Bisbee AZ home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
Is Financial Support Offered? The majority of DPT schools supply some form of financial aid to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial assistance department and find out what kind of assistance is offered. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. Some physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapist program you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Bisbee AZ area, make sure 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 enroll in. 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
Deciding on the ideal physical therapist program is an important first decision you need to make to begin a fulfilling career in the medical field. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you enroll in should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are other relevant questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapy college keep in mind that many variables will guide you to your ultimate decision. You may want to visit different colleges to see their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me realize my goal of becoming a licensed practicing 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 appropriate choice. And with the proper training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Bisbee Arizona.