How to Select the Right Physical Therapist Course Near Corona De Tucson Arizona
Obtaining a physical therapy degree near Corona De Tucson AZ is an important first step to launching a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated due to illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get 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 college. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it's important to research those you are thinking about to ensure they will furnish a superior education and meet your state's licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is select a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be considered in addition to cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we'll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist's Job Description?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of locations, including Corona De Tucson AZ hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they create a program of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also strive to prevent 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
- Knee Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Corona De Tucson AZ health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone considering getting 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 extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Available
There are three physical therapy degree options offered for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is available that qualifies the graduate to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short descriptions of degree levels that are offered to prospective students in the Corona De Tucson AZ area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically offered by junior or community colleges, and require two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a portion of the program.
- Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist education to prep students to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor's degrees, they normally take 4 years to finish and commonly incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 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 3 years to finish, making the overall commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential element along with the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in a number of 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 available in the USA. A number of practicing physical therapists holding a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Schools Online
While not as prevalent as the more traditional alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online segment of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Corona De Tucson AZ home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition might be significantly lower than similar on-campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
By now you most likely have come to decision regarding several of your initial queries, including the type of physical therapist degree you want to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Corona De Tucson AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll need to look into additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of college options. Also, you want to make certain that you pick the program that is ideal for you. That's the reason we have put together a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Ask if the programs you are reviewing have received accreditation from a national or a regional 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 can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapist program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the College's Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it's essential that the school and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT college's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact several Corona De Tucson AZ physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your school options. It might also be a good idea to check with the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? There are a two significant statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapy colleges you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Corona De Tucson AZ area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even exceptional. It also verifies that the college has a large network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment after graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the school you enroll in provides both superior training and a course of study that supports 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing have relationships with Corona De Tucson AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Corona De Tucson health care community and assist with job placement after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges 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 converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapy program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy school they select will have to be within driving distance of their Corona De Tucson AZ residence. Students who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even 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 usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? The majority of DPT colleges supply some type of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are examining have a financial aid department and see what type of assistance is available. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapy college you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Corona De Tucson AZ area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Corona De Tucson Physical Therapist School
Selecting the right physical therapist school is a necessary first decision you need to make to start a rewarding career in the medical profession. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you select should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are additional critical questions that you need to ask regarding your college of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist college keep in mind that a number of factors will lead you to your final decision. You might decide to visit different schools to view their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me realize my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the right choice. And with the proper training and education, you can accomplish your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Corona De Tucson Arizona.