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How to Pick the Right Physical Therapist Degree Program Near Chino Valley Arizona

Chino Valley Arizona physical therapist working with female patient holding exercise ballObtaining a physical therapy degree near Chino Valley AZ is an important first step to starting a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled as a result of injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the necessary training and education. A PT must also become licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it's important to investigate the ones you are considering to make certain they will deliver a quality education and meet your state's licensing requirements. What you should not do is choose a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be considered in addition to location and cost. But before we discuss 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 Do Physical Therapists Do?

Chino Valley Arizona DPT helping woman to walk

Physical therapists practice in a variety of locations, 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 have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain due to 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 stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Head injuries
  • Heart attacks
  • Sports injuries
  • Fire injuries
  • Hip Replacement
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Multiple Sclerosis

Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Chino Valley AZ health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees Offered

Chino Valley Arizona physical therapist working with patient in pool

There are 3 physical therapist degree options available for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is available that qualifies the graduate to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training 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 train students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are most often provided by community colleges, and require 2 years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a component of the program.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to ready students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor's degrees, they normally require four years to finish and commonly include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are a requirement in order to become a practicing licensed 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 three years to complete, making the overall investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an essential element along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in some 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 attainable in the United States. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapy Online Schools

Chino Valley Arizona female student taking physical therapy classes onlineWhile not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist programs offered, more so 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 necessitates that the student live near the college campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online part of the program may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Chino Valley AZ residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition may be significantly lower than comparable 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 may make the online option the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.

Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Schools

At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning several of your preliminary questions, including the kind of physical therapy degree you want to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the Chino Valley AZ area and across Arizona, you'll have to research additional qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college options. Moreover, you want to make certain that you select the college that is ideal for you. That's why we have compiled a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are considering. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions before making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously 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 may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapist school and program you select 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 receive a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the College's Ranking? Along with accreditation, it's imperative that the college and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT school's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Call some Chino Valley AZ physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your program options. It may also be prudent to check with the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students left due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Chino Valley AZ area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even excellent. It also affirms that the program has a large network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the program you select furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements 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) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the physical therapy programs you are reviewing have associations with Chino Valley AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Chino Valley medical community and assist with job placement after licensing.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing 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 determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program as well.

Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Chino Valley AZ residence. Individuals who have opted 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 choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for 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 potential students. Inquire if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any grants you might be eligible 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, learn what financial aid may be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapist program you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Chino Valley AZ area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Chino Valley Online Physical Therapy Programs

Enroll in the Best Chino Valley Physical Therapist School

Choosing the right physical therapist school is a necessary initial decision you need to make to start a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you pick should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are other critical questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapist program bear in mind that numerous factors will guide you to your final decision. You may decide to go to each of the schools to view their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college 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 best choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Chino Valley Arizona.


 

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