How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapist Course Near Doney Park Arizona
Earning a physical therapist degree near Doney Park AZ is an important first step to starting a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated due to illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the proper training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it's important to research the ones you are thinking about to ensure they will deliver a quality education and meet your state's licensing requirements. What you should not do is choose a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be evaluated besides cost and location. 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 Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of settings, such as Doney Park AZ private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help individuals 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 eradicate any pain. They also strive to prevent any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest
- Sports injuries
- Fire injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Doney Park AZ medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
There are three physical therapy degree options available for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is offered 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 prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief descriptions of degree levels that are offered to prospective students in the Doney Park AZ area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are typically provided by community colleges, and require 2 years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally part of the program.
- Bachelor's Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy training to prep candidates to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor's degrees, they generally require four years to finish and often incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required 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). After earning the bachelor's degree, the doctoral takes three years to complete, making the overall commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an important element along with the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in several states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master's of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer offered in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists having a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Online Programs
Although not as common as the on campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, even more 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 requires that the student live close to the school campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Doney Park AZ residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat less than comparable on-campus options, 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 alternative the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
By now you most likely have made a decision regarding several of your initial queries, like 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 since there are so many PT colleges within the Doney Park AZ area and across Arizona, you'll have to look into additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school choices. Also, you need to be sure that you enroll in the school that is ideal for you. That's why we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Find out if the schools you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you enroll in an online college, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not just the school. Also, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program's Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it's imperative that the college and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT college's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact several Doney Park AZ physical therapy clinics or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your college selections. It may also be a good idea to check with 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 two useful statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might mean that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Doney Park AZ area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even exceptional. It also affirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's important that the school you enroll in furnishes both superior training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapy colleges you are assessing have relationships with Doney Park AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Doney Park healthcare community and help with job placement after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Doney Park AZ home. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even 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 frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? The majority of DPT schools supply some type of financial support to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department and find out what kind of aid is obtainable. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapy school you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Doney Park AZ area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Doney Park Physical Therapy School
Deciding on the best physical therapist program is a necessary first decision you have to make to start 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 outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are other important questions that you need to ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist college keep in mind that many factors will lead you to your final decision. You might want to go to different campuses to see their facilities and talk to active 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 adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the ideal choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Doney Park Arizona.