How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapy Course Near Chinle Arizona
Obtaining a physical therapy degree near Chinle AZ is an important first step to launching a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated due to illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it's necessary to research those you are looking at to make certain they will provide a superior education and satisfy your state's licensing criteria. What you should not do is enroll in a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be evaluated besides cost and location. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we'll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists work in varying locations, such as Chinle AZ hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also strive to stop any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest
- Sports injuries
- Burn injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Chinle AZ health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone thinking about 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 Therapist Degrees Offered
There are 3 physical therapist degree options available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is available that qualifies the graduate to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degrees that are available to prospective students in the Chinle AZ area:
- Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are usually made available by community colleges, and require 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor's Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to prep students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor's degrees, they typically take 4 years to complete and commonly include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required if you want 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 3 years to finish, making the total commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an important component along with the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in some states for licensing also.
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 United States. A number of practicing physical therapists holding a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Schools
Although not as common as the more traditional options, there are many 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 requires that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online segment of the curriculum can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Chinle AZ home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat less than comparable on-campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number 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
At this point you probably have come to decision regarding a few of your preliminary queries, such as the type of physical therapist degree you would like to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the Chinle AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll need to look into other qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school options. Furthermore, you want to be sure that you pick the program that is best for you. That's the reason we have compiled a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential schools these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Find out if the programs you are considering 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 select an online college, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapy school and program you select are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School's Reputation? Along with accreditation, it's important that the school and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can research a PT school's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Get in touch with several Chinle AZ physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your college options. It may also be a good idea to contact the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the School's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two significant statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist schools you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Chinle AZ area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps excellent. It also verifies 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 select furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist colleges you are interested in have relationships with Chinle AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Chinle medical community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program also.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Chinle AZ home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to keep 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 may have 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 live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT schools offer some type of financial aid to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are examining have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of help is offered. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapist program you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Chinle AZ area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Chinle Physical Therapy School
Selecting the ideal physical therapy college is an important first decision you must make to start a rewarding career in the healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you choose should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are additional important questions that you should ask regarding your college of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist school bear in mind that a number of variables will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might want to go to each of the campuses to see their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the best choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Chinle Arizona.