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How to Find the Right Physical Therapy Degree Program Near Camp Verde Arizona

Camp Verde Arizona physical therapist working with woman holding exercise ballObtaining a physical therapy degree near Camp Verde AZ is an important first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled due to illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the proper training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it's necessary to investigate those you are looking at to make sure they will deliver a quality education and satisfy your state's licensing standards. 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 must be evaluated along with location and cost. But before we discuss 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?

Camp Verde Arizona DPT assisting female patient to walk

Physical therapists practice in diverse settings, including Camp Verde AZ private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Head injuries
  • Heart attacks
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Fire injuries
  • Hip Replacement
  • Sciatica
  • Multiple Sclerosis

Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Camp Verde AZ medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about getting into 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 extended periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degree Options

Camp Verde Arizona physical therapist working with man in pool

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

  • Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are most often provided by community colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a component of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist education to ready candidates to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor's degrees, they normally require 4 years to finish and usually include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are a requirement if you want to become a licensed practicing 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 three years to complete, making the total commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an essential component in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in some states for licensing also.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master's of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer attainable in the USA. 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 instituted.

Physical Therapist Online Schools

Camp Verde Arizona female student taking physical therapist training onlineWhile not as common as the more traditional alternatives, there are a number of 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 combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the curriculum can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Camp Verde AZ home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition may be significantly lower than similar on-campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Programs

By now you probably have come to decision regarding a few of your initial questions, like the kind of physical therapy degree you intend to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Camp Verde AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll need to look into additional qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of school options. Moreover, you want to be sure that you enroll in the program that is ideal for you. That's the reason we have put together a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate decision.

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

What is the Program's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's important that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT school's reputation, beginning with asking for 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 also. Contact several Camp Verde AZ physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your college options. It may also be a good idea to contact the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After 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 college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps excellent. It also confirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the school you choose provides both excellent training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria for Arizona or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the physical therapy programs you are assessing have relationships with Camp Verde AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional connections in the Camp Verde healthcare community and help with job placement after licensing.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor 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 therapy program also.

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

Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT colleges offer some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Find out if the colleges you are considering have a financial assistance department and find out what type of assistance is offered. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial aid may be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapy school you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Camp Verde AZ area, make certain that they are offered. 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 need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.

Learn More About Camp Verde Physical Therapist Colleges

Choose the Right Camp Verde Physical Therapist School

Picking the best physical therapist school is a necessary first decision you need to make to begin a gratifying career in the medical profession. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you enroll in should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are other critical questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapist school keep in mind that a number of variables will guide you to your ultimate decision. You might decide to visit each of the colleges to see their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me achieve my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the best choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can achieve your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Camp Verde Arizona.


 

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