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How to Choose the Right Physical Therapy Course Near Casas Adobes Arizona

Casas Adobes Arizona physical therapist working with female patient holding exercise ballGetting a physical therapy degree near Casas Adobes AZ is an important first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled due to illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the appropriate education and training. A PT must also be licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it's necessary to research those you are considering to make certain they will deliver a quality education and comply with your state's licensing requirements. What you should not do is enroll in a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be considered besides cost and location. But before we cover what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we'll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.

What Do Physical Therapists Do?

Casas Adobes Arizona DPT assisting woman to walk

Physical therapists work in a variety of locations, including Casas Adobes AZ hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a course of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Head injuries
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Fire injuries
  • Knee Replacement
  • Sciatica
  • Multiple Sclerosis

Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Casas Adobes AZ health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degree Options

Casas Adobes Arizona DPT working with patient in pool

There are 3 physical therapy degrees available for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is available that qualifies the graduate to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degrees that are available to prospective students in the Casas Adobes AZ area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to practice as 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 programs are typically made available by junior or community colleges, and take about two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a portion of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy education to ready candidates to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor's degrees, they normally require 4 years to finish and often 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 three years to complete, making the total commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an essential component along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not solely 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 phased out and is no longer offered in the USA. A number of practicing physical therapists having a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapist Degrees Online

Casas Adobes Arizona woman taking physical therapy classes onlineAlthough not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Casas Adobes AZ residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition may be significantly lower than comparable on-campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.

What to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges

By now you probably have made a decision concerning some of your preliminary questions, such as the type of physical therapist degree you intend to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the Casas Adobes AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll need to research additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school choices. Moreover, you need to make sure that you choose the program that is ideal for you. That's the reason we have compiled a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited?  Ask if the colleges you are considering have earned 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 choose an online program, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not just the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the School's Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it's imperative that the college and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can investigate a PT program's reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call several Casas Adobes AZ physical therapy centers or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your college options. It may also be a good idea to contact the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students left due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Casas Adobes AZ area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps excellent. It also confirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to help students get internships or employment after graduation.

Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's important that the program you select provides 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 therapy college. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internships Offered? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are interested in have associations with Casas Adobes AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Casas Adobes health care community and assist with job placement after licensing.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing 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 final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program also.

Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Casas Adobes AZ home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something 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 typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT schools supply some type of financial aid to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are considering have a financial aid department and see what kind of aid is available. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance may 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 especially crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Casas Adobes AZ area, check 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 need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.

Learn More About Casas Adobes Online Physical Therapist Training

Enroll in the Best Casas Adobes Physical Therapy School

Selecting the right physical therapist program is a necessary first decision you must make to begin a rewarding career in the healthcare profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you pick should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are other critical questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapist program keep in mind that numerous factors will guide you to your ultimate decision. You may decide to go to each of the campuses to see their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing 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 selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Casas Adobes Arizona.


 

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