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How to Select the Right Physical Therapist College Near Camp Verde Arizona

Camp Verde Arizona physical therapist working with female patient holding balance ballGetting a physical therapy degree near Camp Verde AZ is a critical first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled due to illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the proper education and training. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it's necessary to investigate those you are looking at to make sure they will supply a quality education and meet your state's licensing requirements. What you should not do is choose a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be considered in addition to location and cost. But before we cover 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 Does a Physical Therapist Do?

Camp Verde Arizona DPT assisting female patient to walk

Physical therapists practice in varying settings, including Camp Verde AZ hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a program of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Strokes
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Burn injuries
  • Hip Replacement
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Camp Verde AZ health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees Available

Camp Verde Arizona physical therapist working with patient in pool

There are 3 physical therapy degree options available for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is offered 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. Following are brief explanations of degree levels that are available to prospective students in the Camp Verde AZ area:

  • Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically made available by community colleges, and require 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a portion of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy education to ready students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor's degrees, they normally take 4 years to complete and often include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program must also 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 seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an important element in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in some 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. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapy Colleges Online

Camp Verde Arizona female student taking physical therapy classes onlineAlthough not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online portion of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Camp Verde AZ residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat less than similar on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.

Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Schools

By now you most likely have made a decision concerning a few of your initial questions, like the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Camp Verde AZ area and across Arizona, you'll need to look into other qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Moreover, you need to make certain that you select the school that is best for you. That's why we have compiled a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited?  Find out if the schools you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online school, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapy school and program you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the College's Standing? Along with accreditation, it's important that the college and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT school's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact some Camp Verde AZ physical therapy centers or other health 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 prudent to check with the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the College's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist programs you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean that students left because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Camp Verde AZ area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care 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 College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the school you choose furnishes 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 differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist programs you are evaluating have associations with Camp Verde AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional connections in the Camp Verde medical community and assist with job placement after licensing.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapy program also.

Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Camp Verde AZ home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Aid Provided? The majority of DPT colleges provide some type of financial aid to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are considering have a financial assistance department and find out what kind of assistance is offered. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance might be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapy college you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Camp Verde AZ area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Camp Verde Physical Therapist Colleges

Choose the Best Camp Verde Physical Therapist School

Picking the ideal physical therapist school is a necessary first decision you have to make to begin a rewarding career in the health care field. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you decide on should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are other relevant questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapy school bear in mind that a number of factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might want to go to each of the campuses to view their facilities and speak to current 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 be able to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Camp Verde Arizona.


 

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