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How to Find the Right Physical Therapist Course Near Buckeye Arizona

Buckeye Arizona physical therapist working with woman holding balance ballReceiving a physical therapy degree near Buckeye AZ is an important first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the proper training and education. A PT must also become licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it's important to research the ones you are thinking about to make sure they will supply a quality education and satisfy your state's licensing criteria. What you should not do is select a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be evaluated along with location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we'll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.

What Do Physical Therapists Do?

Buckeye Arizona physical therapist assisting female patient to walk

Physical therapists practice in a variety of locations, including Buckeye AZ hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also strive to stop any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Strokes
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Fire injuries
  • Hip Replacement
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Multiple Sclerosis

Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Buckeye AZ health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, 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. Something to bear in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees Available

Buckeye Arizona physical therapist working with patient in pool

There are 3 physical therapist degree options available for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is attainable 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 preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degree levels that are offered to prospective students in the Buckeye AZ area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are typically made available by community or junior colleges, and require two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a portion of the course of study.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist education to prepare candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor's degrees, they typically take 4 years to complete and often include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are mandated in order 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 three years to finish, making the total commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an intregal element along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in several states for licensing also.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master's of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer offered in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists having a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapist Schools Online

Buckeye Arizona woman taking physical therapy training onlineWhile not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, 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 necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online part of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Buckeye AZ home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition can be significantly less than similar on campus options, and costs for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.

Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges

At this point you most likely have made a decision concerning several of your preliminary queries, such as the type of physical therapist degree you would like to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Buckeye AZ area and across Arizona, you'll need to research other qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Also, you need to make certain that you select the college that is right for you. That's why we have collected a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are looking at 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 program, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program's Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it's essential that the college and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can investigate a PT college's reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call several Buckeye AZ physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your program selections. It might also be a good idea to contact the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? There are a two significant statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy schools you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Buckeye AZ area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also affirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the school you choose furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working. In every 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 fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internships Provided? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are interested in have relationships with Buckeye AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Buckeye healthcare community and assist with job placement once licensed.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapy program as well.

Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Buckeye AZ residence. 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 perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Support Provided? The majority of DPT schools offer some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are considering have a financial aid department and see what type of help is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid might be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapy school you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Buckeye AZ area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Buckeye Online Physical Therapy Degrees

Choose the Right Buckeye Physical Therapist School

Choosing the right physical therapy program is a necessary initial decision you have to make to start a fulfilling career in the medical field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you choose should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. However there are additional important questions that you need to ask regarding your college of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapy school bear in mind that a number of factors will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You might decide to visit each of the campuses to view their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Buckeye Arizona.


 

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