How to Find the Right Physical Therapy Program Near Casas Adobes Arizona
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Casas Adobes AZ is an important first step to starting a rewarding career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated due to illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the necessary education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it's important to research those you are considering to ensure they will provide a superior education and comply with your state's licensing standards. What you do not want to do is choose a college just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be evaluated besides 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 the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist's Job Description?
Physical therapists work in a variety of settings, including Casas Adobes AZ hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a program of treatment to address the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest
- Sports injuries
- Burn injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Casas Adobes AZ health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
There are 3 physical therapist degrees available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is attainable 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 readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degrees that are offered to prospective students in the Casas Adobes AZ area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are usually provided by junior or community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor's Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist education to ready candidates to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor's degrees, they normally require four years to finish and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required 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). In addition to the bachelor's degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the total investment of time seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential component in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in some 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 eliminated and is no longer offered in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists having a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Colleges Online
Although not as common as the more traditional options, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the school campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online portion of the curriculum can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Casas Adobes AZ home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition can be significantly lower than similar on campus options, and expenses for commuting are reduced. 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 Colleges
At this point you probably have come to decision regarding a few of your preliminary questions, such as the type of physical therapy degree you would like to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools 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 choices. Furthermore, you need to be sure that you enroll in the school that is ideal for you. That's why we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering. Ask each of the competing schools these questions before making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier mentioned, 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 college, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program's Standing? Along with accreditation, it's essential that the college and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can research a PT college's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call a few Casas Adobes AZ physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your college options. It may 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 couple of important statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist schools you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students dropped out due to 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 school's job placement program, particularly in the Casas Adobes AZ area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or even exceptional. It also affirms that the school has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the college you enroll in furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for Arizona or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the physical therapy programs you are reviewing have partnerships with Casas Adobes AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to get practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Casas Adobes health care community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapy program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Casas Adobes AZ residence. Those who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? The majority of DPT schools supply some type of financial aid to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department and see what kind of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapist program you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Casas Adobes AZ area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Casas Adobes Physical Therapist School
Picking the right physical therapy college is a necessary initial decision you need to make to begin a gratifying career in the health care profession. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you select should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are other critical questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapist college keep in mind that a number of variables will lead you to your final decision. You may decide to go to each of the colleges 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 options so you can make the right choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Casas Adobes Arizona.