How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapy School Near Casas Adobes Arizona
Getting a physical therapist degree near Casas Adobes AZ is an important first step to launching a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated due to injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the appropriate education and training. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it's necessary to investigate the ones you are considering to make certain they will supply a superior education and meet your state's licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be evaluated in addition to cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we'll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist's Job Description?
Physical therapists practice in diverse locations, such as Casas Adobes AZ private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes 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 people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries
- Cardiac arrest
- Sports injuries
- Burn injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Casas Adobes AZ medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone considering going into 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 long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degree Options
There are three physical therapy degrees offered for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is attainable that qualifies the graduate to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degree levels that are available to prospective students in the Casas Adobes AZ area:
- Associate Degrees prepare 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 degrees are most often provided by community or junior colleges, and take about two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally part of the course of study.
- Bachelor's Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist training to ready candidates to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor's degrees, they normally take four years to complete and often include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement if you want to become a practicing licensed 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 three years to complete, making the overall commitment seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential element along with the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in several 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 available in the USA. A number of 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 implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Colleges
While not as common as the on-campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapy 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 requires that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online part of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Casas Adobes AZ home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat lower than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
By now you most likely have made a decision concerning several of your initial questions, like the type of physical therapy degree you want to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are so many PT colleges within the Casas Adobes AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll have to explore additional qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of college choices. Furthermore, you need to make sure that you choose the school that is ideal for you. That's why we have collected a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Ask if the programs 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 earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the School's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's essential that the college and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can research a PT college's reputation, beginning with requesting 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. Call a few Casas Adobes AZ physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your program options. It might 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 two important statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapy colleges you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students left because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, 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 school has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also verifies that the school has a wide network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment after graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's important that the program you enroll in furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. 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 supplemental exams.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the physical therapy schools you are assessing have partnerships with Casas Adobes AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Casas Adobes health care community and assist with job placement once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapy program also.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy school they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Casas Adobes AZ home. Students who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing 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 have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Most DPT colleges supply some form of financial support to their prospective students. Find out if the schools you are considering have a financial assistance department and see what type of aid is obtainable. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapy school you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Casas Adobes AZ area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Casas Adobes Physical Therapy School
Picking the best physical therapist program is an important first decision you need to make to launch a fulfilling career in the healthcare profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you choose should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are additional important questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist program bear in mind that many variables will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You may want to visit different colleges to view their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me achieve my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the ideal choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Casas Adobes Arizona.