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How to Choose the Right Physical Therapy Training Program Near Camp Verde Arizona

Camp Verde Arizona physical therapist working with woman holding balance ballGetting a physical therapist degree near Camp Verde AZ is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated due to injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the proper training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it's important to investigate the ones you are thinking about to make certain they will provide a superior education and comply with your state's licensing standards. 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 in addition to location and cost. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we'll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.

What Does a Physical Therapist Do?

Camp Verde Arizona physical therapist assisting female patient to walk

Physical therapists work in diverse settings, such as Camp Verde AZ private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Strokes
  • Heart attacks
  • Sports injuries
  • Burn injuries
  • Hip Replacement
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Multiple Sclerosis

Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Camp Verde AZ medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees Offered

Camp Verde Arizona DPT working with man in pool

There are three physical therapist degree options offered for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one degree that is offered that qualifies the graduate to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degrees that are available to prospective students in the Camp Verde AZ area:

  • Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are usually offered by community or junior colleges, and take about two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically part of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy training to prepare candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor's degrees, they typically take 4 years to finish and commonly include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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 finish, making the overall investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an important component along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in a number of 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 offered in the United States. A number of 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 instituted.

Physical Therapist Online Colleges

Camp Verde Arizona woman taking physical therapy courses onlineWhile not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the curriculum can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Camp Verde AZ home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition can be significantly lower than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.

What to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges

By now you probably have come to decision concerning several of your initial questions, including the kind of physical therapy degree you want to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Camp Verde AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll need to research additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school choices. Furthermore, you need to make sure that you enroll in the school that is right for you. That's why we have compiled a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential schools these questions before making a final decision.

Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are reviewing have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. 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 select 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 select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program's Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it's imperative that the school and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT program's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with a few Camp Verde AZ physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your college selections. It may 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 couple of relevant statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapy colleges you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Camp Verde AZ area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or even excellent. It also affirms that the school has a wide network of contacts to help students obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It's important that the school 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 each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapist schools you are evaluating have associations with Camp Verde AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Camp Verde healthcare community and help with job placement after licensing.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program also.

Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Camp Verde AZ residence. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to keep 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 might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Help Offered? Most DPT schools offer some form of financial aid to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department and find out what kind of aid is obtainable. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid may be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapy college you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Camp Verde AZ area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.

Learn More About Camp Verde Physical Therapy Degrees

Enroll in the Best Camp Verde Physical Therapy School

Selecting the best physical therapy program is an important first decision you need to make to begin a gratifying career in the health care field. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you choose should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. But there are additional important questions that you need to ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapist program bear in mind that many factors will guide you to your ultimate decision. You might decide to visit each of the colleges to see their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me realize my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to 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 achieve your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Camp Verde Arizona.


 

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