How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapist School Near Cave Creek Arizona
Earning a physical therapist degree near Cave Creek AZ is an important first step to starting a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated as a result of injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the proper education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it's essential to research the ones you are thinking about to make sure they will supply a superior education and satisfy your state's licensing requirements. What you should not do is enroll in a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant 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 the options for education.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of locations, including Cave Creek AZ hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries
- Heart attacks
- Sports injuries
- Fire injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Cave Creek AZ health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapy degrees available for individuals to enroll in 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 target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short explanations of degrees that are offered to prospective students in the Cave Creek AZ area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually offered by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically part of the program.
- Bachelor's Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy training to prep students to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor's degrees, they normally require 4 years to finish and commonly include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated in order to become a licensed practicing 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 finish, making the overall investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential component in addition to the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in several states for licensing also.
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 attainable in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Online Degrees
Although not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapist degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online part of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Cave Creek AZ home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition may be significantly less than comparable on campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
At this point you most likely have come to decision concerning a few of your initial questions, including the kind of physical therapist degree you intend to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Cave Creek AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll need to research additional qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Moreover, you need to make sure that you pick the program that is ideal for you. That's why we have collected a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential schools these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As previously 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 select an online program, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School's Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it's essential that the college and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several 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 organizations for their reviews also. Call some Cave Creek AZ physical therapy clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your program options. It might also be a good idea to check with the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of useful statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean 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 support of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Cave Creek AZ area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also affirms that the college has a broad 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 superior training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria 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) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the physical therapy colleges you are evaluating have associations with Cave Creek AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Cave Creek medical community and help with job placement after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program also.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Cave Creek AZ home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing 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 generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? The majority of DPT schools supply some form of financial aid to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are considering have a financial aid department and see what type of aid is obtainable. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapist program you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Cave Creek AZ area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Cave Creek Physical Therapy School
Picking the ideal physical therapy school is a necessary initial decision you need to make to start a fulfilling career in the health care field. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you choose should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are additional important questions that you should ask regarding your college of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapist college keep in mind that many variables will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You might decide to visit different schools to view their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me realize my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Cave Creek Arizona.