How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapist Course Near Chinle Arizona
Getting a physical therapy degree near Chinle AZ is an essential first step to starting a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled due to injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the necessary education and training. A PT must also become licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it's essential to investigate the ones you are considering to make certain they will supply a quality education and comply with your state's licensing standards. What you should not do is select a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be considered along with location and cost. But before we cover 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?
Physical therapists work in a variety of locations, including Chinle AZ private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to address the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to prevent any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries
- Heart attacks
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Burn injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Chinle AZ health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are three physical therapy degree options offered for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one degree that is available 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 prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are brief explanations of degree levels that are offered to prospective students in the Chinle AZ area:
- Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are most often offered by community or junior colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy education to ready students to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor's degrees, they normally take 4 years to finish and usually incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required if you want 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 overall commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal component in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in several states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master's of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer attainable in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Programs
While not as prevalent as the more traditional alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs available, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature 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 nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online part of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Chinle AZ residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat lower than similar on campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. 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 dedicated enough to learn at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
By now you probably have made a decision regarding several of your initial queries, like the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Chinle AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll have to explore other qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school choices. Also, you need to make certain that you enroll in the program that is best for you. That's why we have compiled a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are thinking about. Ask each of the competing schools these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Ask if the programs you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier stated, 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 school, it may also receive 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 just the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College's Ranking? Along with accreditation, it's essential that the school and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can investigate a PT college's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Call several Chinle AZ physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested 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 filed against the schools.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of useful statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapist programs you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students left due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Chinle AZ area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even outstanding. It also confirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the program you choose furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. Although 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 supplemental tests.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapist colleges you are evaluating have partnerships with Chinle AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to receive practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Chinle health care community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy 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 ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapy program as well.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy school they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Chinle AZ residence. Those who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local 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 even 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 commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT colleges supply some form of financial support to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and find out what type of assistance is obtainable. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapist program you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Chinle AZ area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Chinle Physical Therapist School
Selecting the best physical therapist college is a necessary initial decision you must make to begin a fulfilling career in the medical profession. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you decide on should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are additional important questions that you should ask concerning your school of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist program keep in mind that a number of factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You may decide to visit different campuses to see their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional 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 fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Chinle Arizona.