How to Choose the Right Physical Therapy College Near Camp Verde Arizona
Earning a physical therapy degree near Camp Verde AZ is an essential first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated due to injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the necessary education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it's important to research the ones you are considering to ensure they will supply a superior education and meet your state's licensing requirements. What you should not do is choose a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated along with cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we'll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in diverse settings, such as Camp Verde AZ private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they create a program of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries
- Heart attacks
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Fire injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Camp Verde AZ health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
There are 3 physical therapy degree options available for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is offered that qualifies the graduate to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief explanations of degree levels that are available to prospective students in the Camp Verde AZ area:
- Associate Degrees train students to be 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 GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are most often offered by junior or community colleges, and require two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically part of the program.
- Bachelor's Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist education to ready students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor's degrees, they typically take four years to complete and commonly include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated in order to become a practicing licensed 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 3 years to complete, making the total investment of time 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an important element in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in a number of 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 attainable in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Programs
While not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapy programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the school 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 Camp Verde AZ residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition might be significantly less than similar on-campus options, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
By now you probably have made a decision concerning some of your preliminary questions, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are so many PT schools within the Camp Verde AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll have to explore other qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Also, you need to be sure that you enroll in the college that is best for you. That's the reason we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are considering. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions before making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have earned 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 therapy school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the College's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's imperative that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT program's reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Contact some Camp Verde AZ physical therapy centers or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your school options. It may also be a good idea to contact the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the College's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two significant statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Camp Verde AZ area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or even outstanding. It also affirms that the college has a broad network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the school you enroll in provides both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the physical therapist schools you are interested in have associations with Camp Verde AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional connections in the Camp Verde medical community and help with job placement once licensed.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are looking at what the typical student to teacher 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 several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapy program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Camp Verde AZ home. Students who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind 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 commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? The majority of DPT schools offer some form of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid office and see what kind of aid is offered. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapy college you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Camp Verde AZ area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Camp Verde Physical Therapy School
Deciding on the right physical therapist college is an important first decision you need to make to launch a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you choose should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. However there are other 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 numerous variables will guide you toward your final decision. You may decide to go to each of the campuses to view their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me achieve my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Camp Verde Arizona.