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

Corona De Tucson Arizona physical therapist working with female patient holding exercise ballObtaining a physical therapy degree near Corona De Tucson AZ is a critical first step to starting a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled due to injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the necessary training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, many 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 meet your state's licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is choose a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated in addition to 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 is a Physical Therapist's Job Description?

Corona De Tucson Arizona physical therapist assisting woman to walk

Physical therapists practice in varying settings, such as Corona De Tucson AZ private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to address the mobility issues 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 numerous, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Strokes
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Sports injuries
  • Fire injuries
  • Knee Replacement
  • Sciatica
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Corona De Tucson AZ medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees Available

Corona De Tucson Arizona physical therapist working with patient in pool

There are 3 physical therapist degrees offered for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is available 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 short summaries of degrees that are offered to prospective students in the Corona De Tucson AZ area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically made available by community colleges, and take about two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically a portion of the course of study.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to prep candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor's degrees, they normally require four years to complete and usually include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are required if you want to become a licensed practicing 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 the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential component along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in a number of 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. 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 implemented.

Physical Therapist Degrees Online

Corona De Tucson Arizona female student taking physical therapy courses onlineAlthough not as prevalent as the more traditional options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Corona De Tucson AZ residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition can 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, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.

Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Programs

At this point you probably have come to decision concerning several of your initial queries, like the type of physical therapist degree you intend to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Corona De Tucson AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll have to look into other qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of college choices. Moreover, you want to make sure that you select the program that is right for you. That's the reason we have put together a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited?  Find out if the schools you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As earlier 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 program, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated 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 choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can research a PT program's reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Call a few Corona De Tucson AZ physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your program selections. It may also be a good idea to contact the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.

What is the School's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of useful statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest 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 assistance of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Corona De Tucson AZ area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps excellent. It also affirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students get internships or employment after graduation.

Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the program you select furnishes both superior training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapy schools you are reviewing have associations with Corona De Tucson AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional connections in the Corona De Tucson health care community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program also.

Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Corona De Tucson AZ residence. Those who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern 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 college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Help Provided? The majority of DPT schools offer some form of financial support to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance department and see what kind of aid is offered. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. Some physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid might be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapy school you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Corona De Tucson AZ area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.

Find Out More About Corona De Tucson Physical Therapist Majors

Choose the Right Corona De Tucson Physical Therapy School

Deciding on the ideal physical therapy college is a necessary initial decision you must make to launch a gratifying career in the health care profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you enroll in should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. But there are other relevant questions that you should ask regarding your college of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapist school keep in mind that many factors will guide you to your ultimate decision. You may want to go to each of the campuses to see their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program 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 appropriate choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Corona De Tucson Arizona.


 

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