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How to Choose the Right Physical Therapy College Near Bisbee Arizona

Bisbee Arizona physical therapist working with female patient holding exercise ballObtaining a physical therapist degree near Bisbee AZ is an important first step to launching a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled due to illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the proper education and training. 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 selecting a physical therapy school, it's essential to research those you are considering to make sure they will provide a quality education and satisfy your state's licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is select a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be considered in addition to 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 is a Physical Therapist's Job Description?

Bisbee Arizona physical therapist helping woman to walk

Physical therapists work in a variety of settings, such as Bisbee AZ hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they develop a program of treatment to address the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to prevent any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:

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

Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Bisbee AZ medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone thinking about entering 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 prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degree Options

Bisbee Arizona physical therapist working with patient in pool

There are 3 physical therapy degrees available for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is offered that qualifies the graduate to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degrees that are offered to prospective students in the Bisbee AZ area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to practice as 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 qualify for enrollment. The programs are most often provided by community or junior colleges, and require two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a portion of the course of study.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to prep candidates to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor's degrees, they typically require four years to complete and often incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are mandated in order to become a licensed practicing 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 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential element in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in a number of 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 available in the United States. Some 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 implemented.

Physical Therapist Online Colleges

Bisbee Arizona female student taking physical therapist courses onlineAlthough not as prevalent as the more traditional alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Because of 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 college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the curriculum 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 a number of instances more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat lower than similar on-campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.

Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Programs

By now you most likely have made a decision regarding a few of your initial queries, like the type of physical therapist degree you intend to earn, where you prefer 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 have to explore other qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of school options. Also, you need to make sure that you enroll in the college that is ideal for you. That's why we have put together a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are considering. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making a final decision.

Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited?  Ask if the programs you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier 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 program, it may also receive 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, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the Program's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's imperative that the college and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can research a PT college's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with some Bisbee AZ physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your program options. It might also be prudent to contact the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.

What is the Program's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two relevant statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapy schools you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Bisbee AZ area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even exceptional. It also confirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's important that the program you choose provides both excellent training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for Arizona or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the physical therapy schools you are evaluating have associations with Bisbee AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner 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 assist graduates and students develop 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 way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak 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 number of students, the physical therapist college they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Bisbee AZ home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Most DPT schools offer some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and find out what type of assistance is offered. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial aid might be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapy school you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Bisbee AZ area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.

Learn More About Bisbee Physical Therapy Training

Choose the Best Bisbee Physical Therapist School

Picking the ideal physical therapist college is an important first decision you must make to launch a rewarding career in the healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you choose should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. But there are other critical questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist school bear in mind that numerous factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might want to visit each of the schools to view their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing 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 of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Bisbee Arizona.


 

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