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How to Select the Right Physical Therapist College Near Bisbee Arizona

Bisbee Arizona physical therapist working with woman using balance ballGetting a physical therapist degree near Bisbee AZ is an important first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated due to illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the necessary education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it's necessary to investigate those you are looking at to make sure they will supply a quality education and comply with your state's licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is select a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be considered along with cost and location. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we'll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.

What is a Physical Therapist's Job Description?

Bisbee Arizona physical therapist assisting female patient to walk

Physical therapists practice in a variety of locations, such as Bisbee AZ hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers 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 mentioned, physical therapists help individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Strokes
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Fire injuries
  • Knee Replacement
  • Sciatica
  • Multiple Sclerosis

Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Bisbee AZ health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degree Options

Bisbee Arizona physical therapist working with man in pool

There are three physical therapy degrees available for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one degree that is attainable 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 progress to the doctoral level. Below are short explanations of degrees that are available to prospective students in the Bisbee AZ area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically made available by community or junior colleges, and require two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally part of the course of study.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training to prepare students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor's degrees, they generally require four years to complete and commonly incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are a requirement if you want to become a licensed practicing 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 3 years to finish, making the total commitment seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential component in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in some states for licensing as well.

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 USA. A number of practicing physical therapists holding a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapist Online Colleges

Bisbee Arizona female student taking physical therapy courses onlineAlthough not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online portion of the course of study can 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 instances more affordable. Tuition can be significantly lower than comparable on-campus options, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.

Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Programs

By now you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning several of your preliminary questions, including the kind of physical therapist degree you intend to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the Bisbee AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll need to look into additional qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of college choices. Furthermore, you want to make certain that you choose the program that is right for you. That's the reason we have collected a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited?  Ask if the schools you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online school, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapist school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the School's Reputation? Along with accreditation, it's essential that the college and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are a number of ways you can research a PT school's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Call some Bisbee AZ physical therapy centers or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your program selections. It may also be prudent to contact the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.

What is the School's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapy colleges you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Bisbee AZ area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also affirms that the school has a large network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment after graduation.

Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the program you select provides both superior training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria 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) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapist colleges you are assessing have relationships with Bisbee AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to get hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Bisbee healthcare community and assist with job placement after licensing.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapy program also.

Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Bisbee AZ residence. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need 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 Assistance Provided? The majority of DPT schools offer some type of financial support to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial aid department and find out what kind of assistance is obtainable. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance might be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapist college you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night 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 alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.

Find Out More About Bisbee Physical Therapy Degrees

Enroll in the Best Bisbee Physical Therapy School

Selecting the right physical therapist school is a necessary first decision you must make to begin a rewarding career in the health care profession. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you choose should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are additional relevant questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapy school bear in mind that many factors will guide you to your final decision. You might want to go to each of the colleges to see their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the ideal selection. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Bisbee Arizona.


 

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