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How to Find the Right Physical Therapist Degree Program Near Chinle Arizona

Chinle Arizona physical therapist working with female patient holding exercise ballReceiving a physical therapy degree near Chinle AZ is an important first step to starting a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated due to injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the appropriate training and education. A PT must also become licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it's necessary to research the ones you are considering to make sure they will supply a quality education and meet your state's licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be considered besides 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 the options for education.

What is a Physical Therapist's Job Description?

Chinle Arizona physical therapist assisting woman to walk

Physical therapists work in varying locations, such as Chinle AZ hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Head injuries
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Burn injuries
  • Hip Replacement
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Chinle AZ medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees

Chinle Arizona physical therapist working with patient in pool

There are three physical therapy degrees available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is attainable 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 prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short descriptions of degrees that are available to prospective students in the Chinle AZ area:

  • Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are usually offered by community colleges, and take about two 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 therapist training to prep students to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor's degrees, they typically take 4 years to complete and commonly incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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). After earning the bachelor's degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to finish, making the overall investment of time 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal element along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in some 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 phased out and is no longer offered in the USA. A number of licensed 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 instituted.

Physical Therapy Degrees Online

Chinle Arizona woman taking physical therapy courses onlineWhile not as common as the more traditional options, there are many accredited online physical therapist programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the curriculum can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Chinle AZ home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition may be significantly lower than similar on campus options, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.

Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Programs

At this point you probably have made a decision concerning several of your initial questions, including the type of physical therapist degree you would like to attain, 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 Chinle AZ area and across Arizona, you'll need to research other qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of college options. Furthermore, you want to make sure that you enroll in the school that is ideal for you. That's the reason we have compiled a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are considering. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As previously 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 enroll in an online college, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapist program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. 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 aid.

What is the Program's Reputation? In addition to 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 research a PT school's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with a few Chinle AZ physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any insight 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 Program's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students left because of 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 college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also verifies that the school has a wide network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It's important that the program you select furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapist schools you are interested in have partnerships with Chinle AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Chinle medical community and assist with job placement once licensed.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are considering 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 determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapy program as well.

Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Chinle AZ residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes 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 consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school 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 often charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Help Offered? Most DPT schools provide some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are looking at have a financial assistance department and find out what type of help is offered. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapy schools 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 College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapy school you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Chinle AZ area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Learn More About Chinle Physical Therapist Colleges

Choose the Right Chinle Physical Therapist School

Choosing the ideal physical therapist program is a necessary initial decision you must make to launch a fulfilling career in the health care field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you decide on should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are other critical questions that you need to ask regarding your college of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapy program bear in mind that numerous variables will guide you to your final decision. You might decide to go to different colleges to see their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the ideal selection. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Chinle Arizona.


 

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