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How to Pick the Right Physical Therapy Program Near Cave Creek Arizona

Cave Creek Arizona physical therapist working with woman using exercise ballReceiving a physical therapist degree near Cave Creek AZ is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled as a result of injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the proper education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it's important to investigate those you are thinking about to make certain they will supply a superior education and comply with your state's licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be evaluated along with cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we'll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.

What is a Physical Therapist?

Cave Creek Arizona DPT assisting female patient to walk

Physical therapists practice in a variety of locations, such as Cave Creek AZ private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a course of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Strokes
  • Heart attacks
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Burn injuries
  • Knee Replacement
  • Sciatica
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Cave Creek AZ health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees Offered

Cave Creek Arizona physical therapist working with man in pool

There are three physical therapist degree options offered for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is attainable that qualifies the graduate to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short summaries of degree levels that are offered to prospective students in the Cave Creek AZ area:

  • Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically offered by community colleges, and require two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a component of the program.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy training to prep students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor's degrees, they typically require four years to finish and often incorporate an internship program of at least 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). After earning the bachelor's degree, the doctoral takes three years to complete, making the total investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an important element along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in several states for licensing as well.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master's of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer available in the USA. Some licensed 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 instituted.

Physical Therapist Online Programs

Cave Creek Arizona female student taking physical therapist courses onlineAlthough not as common as the on campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapy programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online part of the curriculum can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Cave Creek AZ home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat lower than comparable on campus options, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing 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 Therapy Schools

By now you probably have made a decision concerning a few of your initial questions, including the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Cave Creek AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll need to look into additional qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of school options. Also, you need to make certain that you select the college that is right for you. That's the reason we have collected a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making a final decision.

Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited?  Find out if the schools you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As earlier mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online program, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the College's Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it's important that the college and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can research a PT college's reputation, beginning with asking for 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 as well. Contact some Cave Creek AZ physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your program options. It might 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 schools.

What is the School's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of useful statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy schools you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Cave Creek AZ area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even excellent. It also affirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the school you choose provides both superior training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working. 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 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 additional exams.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the physical therapist schools you are reviewing have relationships with Cave Creek AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means 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 may assist graduates and students establish professional connections in the Cave Creek medical community and assist with job placement after licensing.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program as well.

Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Cave Creek AZ residence. Students who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. 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 have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically 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 Assistance Provided? Most DPT schools supply some form of financial support to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and find out what type of assistance is offered. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. Some physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance may be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist college you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Cave Creek AZ area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Cave Creek Physical Therapist Courses

Enroll in the Best Cave Creek Physical Therapy School

Deciding on the ideal physical therapy college is an important first decision you have to make to start a gratifying career in the health care profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you pick should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. However there are additional important questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist program bear in mind that a number of variables will guide you toward your final decision. You might decide to visit different campuses to see their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the proper training and education, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Cave Creek Arizona.


 

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