How to Find the Right Physical Therapist Degree Program Near Chino Valley Arizona
Getting a physical therapy degree near Chino Valley AZ is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled due to illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it's necessary to evaluate the ones you are thinking about to make sure they will deliver a superior education and meet your state's licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is enroll in a school just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be evaluated along with location and cost. But before we talk about 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 diverse settings, such as Chino Valley AZ private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they develop a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries
- Heart attacks
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Burn injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Chino Valley AZ medical specialists, 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 keep in mind for anyone considering going into 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 prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are three physical therapist degree options available for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is offered that qualifies the graduate to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are brief summaries of degrees that are available to prospective students in the Chino Valley AZ area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are most often offered by junior or community colleges, and require two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically a component of the program.
- Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to prepare students to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor's degrees, they normally require 4 years to finish and commonly incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement if you want to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program must also 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 overall investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an intregal element in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in a number of 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 United States. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Programs Online
While not as prevalent as the more traditional alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online portion of the program may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Chino Valley AZ home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition can be significantly lower than similar on campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
At this point you probably have made a decision concerning a few of your initial questions, like the type of physical therapist degree you want to obtain, 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 Chino Valley AZ area and across Arizona, you'll need to look into additional qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of college choices. Also, you need to be sure that you choose the college that is ideal for you. That's why we have put together a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential schools these questions before making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Find out if the schools you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As previously stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you select an online college, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program's Standing? Along with accreditation, it's important that the school and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT program's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact a few Chino Valley AZ physical therapy clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your program options. It may 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 colleges.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? There are a two useful statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapist schools you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Chino Valley AZ area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also confirms that the college has a large network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It's important that the program you select furnishes both superior 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 required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are assessing have relationships with Chino Valley AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Chino Valley healthcare community and help with job placement once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Chino Valley AZ residence. Students 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 importance. Something to bear 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 commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT schools provide some type of financial support to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are considering have a financial assistance department and see what kind of assistance is available. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapy program you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Chino Valley AZ area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Chino Valley Physical Therapy School
Choosing the ideal physical therapy program is an important initial decision you must make to launch a gratifying career in the healthcare profession. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you choose should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. However there are other important questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapy college keep in mind that a number of variables will guide you to your final decision. You might decide to visit each of the colleges to see their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed 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 necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Chino Valley Arizona.