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How to Pick the Right Physical Therapist Training Program Near Doney Park Arizona

Doney Park Arizona physical therapist working with woman using balance ballObtaining a physical therapy degree near Doney Park AZ is an important first step to beginning a rewarding career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated due to injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the proper training and education. A PT must also become licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it's essential to evaluate those you are considering to make sure they will furnish a superior education and comply with your state's licensing standards. What you should not do is choose a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be evaluated along with cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we'll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.

What Does a Physical Therapist Do?

Doney Park Arizona physical therapist assisting woman to walk

Physical therapists practice in diverse settings, such as Doney Park AZ hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they develop a course of treatment to address the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Head injuries
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Burn injuries
  • Hip Replacement
  • Sciatica
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Doney Park AZ medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees Available

Doney Park Arizona physical therapist working with patient in pool

There are 3 physical therapist degree options available for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is available that qualifies the graduate to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance 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 train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may 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 programs are most often offered by community colleges, and require two 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 developed as pre-physical therapy training to prep students to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor's degrees, they normally require four years to complete and commonly include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are a requirement in order to become a licensed practicing 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 three years to finish, making the total investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential element in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in several 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 available in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists having a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapy Online Degrees

Doney Park Arizona female student taking physical therapist courses onlineAlthough not as common as the on-campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapist degrees available, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online part of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Doney Park AZ residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition might be somewhat less than comparable on campus options, and costs for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.

What to Ask Physical Therapy Programs

By now you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding some of your initial questions, 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 because there are numerous PT colleges within the Doney Park AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll need to research additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of college options. Furthermore, you want to make certain that you enroll in the school that is right for you. That's why we have collected a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are considering. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited?  Ask if the schools you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional 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 school, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapy school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the School's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's essential that the college and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are a number of ways you can research a PT school's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact a few Doney Park AZ physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your school options. 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 colleges.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapist colleges you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students left 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 assistance of the school'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 medical care field is good or even exceptional. It also confirms that the program has a large network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It's important that the college you enroll in provides both exceptional training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria 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) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internships Provided? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are evaluating have associations with Doney Park AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Doney Park health care community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing 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 ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program also.

Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Doney Park AZ residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to bear 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 have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Most DPT colleges supply some form of financial support to their prospective students. Ask if the schools you are considering have a financial assistance office and find out what type of aid is obtainable. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. Some physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance may be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapy program you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Doney Park AZ area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.

Learn More About Doney Park Online Physical Therapy Colleges

Choose the Right Doney Park Physical Therapy School

Choosing the ideal physical therapist program is a necessary initial decision you have to make to begin a gratifying career in the health care profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you select should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. However there are other important questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapist program keep in mind that a number of variables will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might decide to visit different schools to view their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the proper training and education, you can accomplish your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Doney Park Arizona.


 

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