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How to Find the Right Physical Therapist College Near Chino Valley Arizona

Chino Valley Arizona physical therapist working with female patient holding exercise ballEarning a physical therapist degree near Chino Valley AZ is a critical first step to launching a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled due to illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the proper training and education. A PT must also become licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it's essential to evaluate those you are thinking about to ensure they will provide a quality education and satisfy your state's licensing criteria. What you should not do is choose a school simply 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 cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we'll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.

What Do Physical Therapists Do?

Chino Valley Arizona physical therapist helping woman to walk

Physical therapists practice in a variety of settings, such as Chino Valley AZ private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Head injuries
  • Heart attacks
  • Sports injuries
  • Fire injuries
  • Knee Replacement
  • Sciatica
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Chino Valley AZ health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees Available

Chino Valley Arizona physical therapist working with man in pool

There are 3 physical therapist degree options offered for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one 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 readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief explanations of degree levels that are available to prospective students in the Chino Valley AZ area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are most often made available by junior or community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally part of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy training to ready students to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor's degrees, they generally take 4 years to complete and usually incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are required in order 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 finish, making the total investment of time 7 years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an important element in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in several states for licensing as well.

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 offered in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapist Online Degrees

Chino Valley Arizona woman taking physical therapist courses onlineAlthough not as common as the more traditional alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist programs available, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online part of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Chino Valley AZ residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat less than comparable on campus options, and costs 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 option the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.

Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Schools

At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning a few of your initial questions, including the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Chino Valley AZ area and across Arizona, you'll need to look into additional qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of school choices. Furthermore, you need to make sure that you pick the college that is right for you. That's why we have compiled a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are considering. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national 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 enroll in an online school, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program's Standing? Along with accreditation, it's important that the school and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT school's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with a few Chino Valley AZ physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your program selections. 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 know about each of the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might mean that students left due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Chino Valley AZ area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also affirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the college you enroll in provides both superior training and a course of study that supports 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) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapy schools you are assessing have relationships with Chino Valley AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students develop professional connections in the Chino Valley healthcare community and assist with job placement once licensed.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapy program also.

Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Chino Valley AZ home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry 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 decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Help Offered? The majority of DPT colleges provide some form of financial support to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are considering have a financial assistance department and see what type of assistance is obtainable. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. Some physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance may be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapy school you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Chino Valley AZ area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Chino Valley Physical Therapist Schools

Enroll in the Best Chino Valley Physical Therapist School

Selecting the ideal physical therapy program is an important initial decision you must make to launch a gratifying career in the medical field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you choose should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. However there are other relevant questions that you should ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapist school bear in mind that many factors will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You may decide to go to each of the colleges to view their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college 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 ideal choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Chino Valley Arizona.


 

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