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How to Select the Right Physical Therapy College Near Bisbee Arizona

Bisbee Arizona physical therapist working with female patient holding balance ballGetting a physical therapist degree near Bisbee AZ is an essential first step to launching a rewarding career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people 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 need to get the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it's essential to research those you are looking at to ensure they will deliver a superior education and comply with your state's licensing requirements. What you should not do is choose a college just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated 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 the options for education.

What Do Physical Therapists Do?

Bisbee Arizona DPT helping female patient to walk

Physical therapists work in varying locations, including 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 diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they create a program of treatment to address the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Head injuries
  • Heart attacks
  • Sports injuries
  • Burn injuries
  • Hip Replacement
  • Sciatica
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Bisbee AZ health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees Offered

Bisbee Arizona DPT working with man in pool

There are three physical therapy degree options available for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the only 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 brief descriptions of degree levels that are offered to prospective students in the Bisbee AZ area:

  • Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are most often provided by community colleges, and take about two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a component of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy education to prepare students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement 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 normally take 4 years to complete and usually incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 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). After earning the bachelor's degree, the doctoral takes three years to finish, making the overall commitment 7 years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential element in addition to the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in several 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. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapy Schools Online

Bisbee Arizona female student taking physical therapist training onlineAlthough not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the program may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Bisbee AZ residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition may be significantly lower than similar on campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Programs

By now you most likely have come to decision regarding a few of your initial queries, including the type of physical therapy degree you intend to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Bisbee AZ area and across Arizona, you'll need to research additional qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of college options. Moreover, you want to be sure that you choose the program that is best for you. That's why we have compiled a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy colleges you are thinking about. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions before making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited?  Find out if the colleges you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As previously 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 choose an online college, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapist program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program's Standing? Along with accreditation, it's imperative that the college and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT program's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call some Bisbee AZ physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your school options. It may also be prudent to check with the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.

What is the School's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy schools you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Bisbee AZ area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also affirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the program you choose provides both superior training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the physical therapist colleges you are assessing have partnerships with Bisbee AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Bisbee health care community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program also.

Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist school they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Bisbee AZ home. Those who have decided to attend classes online naturally 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 bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Most DPT schools supply some form of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department and see what type of help is available. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance may be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapist school you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Bisbee AZ area, make certain 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 protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Bisbee Physical Therapy Courses

Enroll in the Right Bisbee Physical Therapist School

Deciding on the ideal physical therapy school is an important initial decision you must make to begin a gratifying career in the medical field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you choose should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are additional relevant questions that you should ask concerning your school of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapist college keep in mind that a number of variables will guide you to your ultimate decision. You might decide to go to each of the schools to see their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me reach my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Bisbee Arizona.


 

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