How to Pick the Right Physical Therapist College Near Casas Adobes Arizona
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Casas Adobes AZ is an essential first step to launching a rewarding career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated as a result of injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it's essential to evaluate the ones you are thinking about to ensure they will supply a quality education and meet your state's licensing requirements. What you should not do is select a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be considered along with cost and location. 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?
Physical therapists work in diverse settings, such as Casas Adobes AZ hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Fire injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Casas Adobes AZ health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy field, 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 Therapy Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapist degrees offered for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is attainable that qualifies the graduate to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degrees that are available to prospective students in the Casas Adobes AZ area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are usually offered by junior or community colleges, and require 2 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 therapy training to prep students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor's degrees, they typically take 4 years to finish and often include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required 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). In addition to the bachelor's degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to finish, making the total commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential component in addition to the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in several states for licensing also.
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 attainable 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 mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Programs Online
While not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapy programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of 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 nearby an available internship. However, the online part of the program may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Casas Adobes AZ residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition may be somewhat less than comparable on-campus options, and costs for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
At this point you probably have made a decision regarding a few of your preliminary questions, such as the type of physical therapy degree you intend to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are so many PT colleges within the Casas Adobes AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll have to look into other qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college options. Furthermore, you want to make sure that you pick the school that is right for you. That's the reason we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are looking at have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As previously stated, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you enroll in an online school, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Also, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the School's Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it's important that the college and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can investigate a PT program's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with several Casas Adobes AZ physical therapy centers or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your school 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 filed against the colleges.
What is the College's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapy colleges you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students left because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Casas Adobes AZ area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps excellent. It also affirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's important that the program you select furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria 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. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapist colleges you are interested in have relationships with Casas Adobes AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional connections in the Casas Adobes healthcare community and help with job placement after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program as well.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Casas Adobes AZ home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? Most DPT colleges offer some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial aid department and find out what type of help is offered. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. A number of physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapist program you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Casas Adobes AZ area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Casas Adobes Physical Therapy School
Deciding on the right physical therapy school is an important initial decision you have to make to start a gratifying career in the health care profession. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you choose should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. However there are other relevant questions that you should ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapy program bear in mind that many factors will guide you to your ultimate decision. You may want to visit different campuses to see their facilities and talk with current 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 following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the best choice. And with the proper education and training, you can accomplish your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Casas Adobes Arizona.