How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapy Training Program Near Catalina Arizona
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Catalina AZ is an essential first step to launching a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it's necessary to investigate the ones you are thinking about to ensure they will supply a superior education and comply with your state's licensing requirements. What you should not do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be evaluated besides location and cost. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we'll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists work in varying locations, including Catalina AZ hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they create a program of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also strive to stop any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries
- Heart attacks
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Burn injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Catalina AZ medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
There are three physical therapist degrees available for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is available that qualifies the graduate to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief explanations of degrees that are available to prospective students in the Catalina 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 a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically made available by community or junior colleges, and require 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to prepare students to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor's degrees, they normally require four years to complete and commonly incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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). After earning the bachelor's degree, the doctoral takes three years to complete, making the overall investment of time seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal component along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in a number of 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. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Schools Online
While not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs offered, more so 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 close to the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Catalina AZ residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition can be significantly lower than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
By now you most likely have come to decision concerning several of your initial queries, including the kind of physical therapist degree you intend to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Catalina AZ area and across Arizona, you'll have to research other qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of college options. Furthermore, you need to make sure that you enroll in the program that is right for you. That's why we have compiled a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are considering. Ask all of the potential schools these questions before making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Ask if the schools you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you select an online college, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program's Standing? Along with accreditation, it's essential that the college and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT school's reputation, beginning with requesting 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 as well. Contact some Catalina AZ physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your college options. It may also be prudent to check with the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? There are a two significant statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapy schools you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students dropped out 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 college's job placement program, particularly in the Catalina AZ area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also verifies that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the college you enroll in provides both superior 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing have partnerships with Catalina AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Catalina medical community and assist with job placement after licensing.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering what the typical 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 an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program as well.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapist school they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Catalina AZ home. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
Is Financial Support Offered? The majority of DPT schools supply some type of financial support to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are examining have a financial aid office and find out what type of aid is offered. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapist college you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Catalina AZ area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Catalina Physical Therapist School
Picking the ideal physical therapy college is an important first decision you need to make to begin a rewarding career in the healthcare profession. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you select should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are other important questions that you need to ask pertaining to your school of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapist school keep in mind that many variables will lead you toward your final decision. You may decide to go to different schools to see their facilities and talk with 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 adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Catalina Arizona.