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How to Find the Right Physical Therapy College Near Corona De Tucson Arizona

Corona De Tucson Arizona physical therapist working with female patient holding balance ballGetting a physical therapy degree near Corona De Tucson AZ is an essential first step to beginning a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled due to illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the appropriate education and training. A PT must also become licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it's important to evaluate the ones you are looking at to ensure they will deliver a quality education and meet your state's licensing standards. What you should not do is enroll in a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be evaluated along with 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 what the educational options are.

What is a Physical Therapist?

Corona De Tucson Arizona DPT assisting female patient to walk

Physical therapists practice in diverse settings, such as Corona De Tucson AZ private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they create a course of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also strive to stop any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Head injuries
  • Heart attacks
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Fire injuries
  • Knee Replacement
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Corona De Tucson AZ medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to take note of for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy profession, 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 Therapy Degrees Offered

Corona De Tucson Arizona DPT working with patient in pool

There are 3 physical therapist degree options available for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate 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 preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degrees that are available to prospective students in the Corona De Tucson AZ area:

  • Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are most often made available by community or junior colleges, and require 2 years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a portion of the program.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to prepare candidates to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor's degrees, they normally require four years to finish and often include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are mandated 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 complete, making the total commitment seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal element in addition to the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion 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 attainable in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists having a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapist Online Schools

Corona De Tucson Arizona woman taking physical therapist classes onlineAlthough not as common as the more traditional alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online segment of the program may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Corona De Tucson AZ residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition can be significantly less 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 alternative the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.

Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges

By now you probably have made a decision regarding several of your preliminary queries, including the kind of physical therapist degree you intend to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the Corona De Tucson AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll have to research additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college options. Also, you want to make certain that you choose the school that is best for you. That's why we have collected a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited?  Ask if the schools you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As earlier 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 choose an online college, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the Program's Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it's important that the college and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT school's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact a few 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 give you any insight about your school selections. It might also be prudent to check with the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? There are a two useful statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many 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 program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also verifies that the college has a wide network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It's important that the college you choose furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria for Arizona or the state where you will be working. 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 program. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the physical therapy schools you are interested in have relationships with Corona De Tucson AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to get practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Corona De Tucson medical community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few 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 therapy college they select will need to be within driving distance of their Corona De Tucson AZ home. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might 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 live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Most DPT colleges supply some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Ask if the colleges you are examining have a financial aid office and see what kind of aid is offered. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. A number of physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance may be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapist program you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Corona De Tucson AZ area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Corona De Tucson Online Physical Therapy Degrees

Choose the Right Corona De Tucson Physical Therapy School

Choosing the ideal physical therapist college is a necessary initial decision you have to make to begin a fulfilling career in the medical profession. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you decide on should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. However 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 therapy college keep in mind that a number of factors will guide you to your final decision. You may decide to go to each of the colleges to see their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me reach my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the best selection. And with the proper training and education, you can accomplish your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Corona De Tucson Arizona.


 

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