How to Choose the Right Physical Therapy Degree Program Near Corona De Tucson Arizona
Obtaining a physical therapy degree near Corona De Tucson AZ is an essential first step to starting a rewarding career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated due to illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the necessary training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it's necessary to investigate those you are thinking about to ensure they will supply a quality education and satisfy your state's licensing standards. What you do not want to do is select a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be considered in addition to cost and location. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we'll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists practice in varying locations, including Corona De Tucson AZ hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks
- Sports injuries
- Burn injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Corona De Tucson AZ health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are three physical therapist degree options available for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is attainable 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 progress to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degrees that are available to prospective students in the Corona De Tucson AZ area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically made available by community or junior colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a portion of the curriculum.
- Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to prepare students to progress to the doctoral level. Although 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 typically require four years to finish and commonly incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required if you want to become a practicing licensed physical therapist. The degree program also must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). After earning the bachelor's degree, the doctoral takes three years to finish, making the overall commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an important element in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not just 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 eliminated 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 requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Online Degrees
While not as common as the on-campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapy programs available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the course of study can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Corona De Tucson AZ home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat less than comparable on-campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
At this point you probably have come to decision concerning several of your initial questions, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you want to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Corona De Tucson AZ area and across Arizona, you'll have to explore additional qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college options. Furthermore, you want to be sure that you select the school that is ideal for you. That's why we have collected a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier mentioned, 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 earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapy school and program you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program's Reputation? Along with accreditation, it's essential that the college and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT school's reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Get in touch with some Corona De Tucson AZ physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your school selections. It may also be a good idea to check with the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? There are a two useful statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students left due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Corona De Tucson AZ area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also confirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the school you enroll in provides both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are interested in have relationships with Corona De Tucson AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional connections in the Corona De Tucson healthcare community and help with job placement once licensed.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Corona De Tucson AZ home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to keep 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 be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? The majority of DPT colleges supply some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Find out if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid department and see what type of aid is available. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapist school you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Corona De Tucson AZ area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
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 gratifying career in the medical profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you choose should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are other important questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapy college keep in mind that a number of variables will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You might decide to go to different colleges to see their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Corona De Tucson Arizona.