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How to Select the Right Physical Therapist Training Program Near Douglas Arizona

Douglas Arizona physical therapist working with woman holding exercise ballGetting a physical therapist degree near Douglas AZ is an essential first step to launching a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated as a result of injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally 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 requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it's necessary to evaluate the ones you are considering to make sure they will provide a superior education and comply with your state's licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is select a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be evaluated besides location and cost. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we'll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.

What is a Physical Therapist's Job Description?

Douglas Arizona DPT assisting woman to walk

Physical therapists work in varying locations, such as Douglas AZ private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they create a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Head injuries
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Sports injuries
  • Burn injuries
  • Knee Replacement
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Douglas AZ health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also manage several 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 quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees

Douglas Arizona DPT working with man in pool

There are 3 physical therapy degree options offered for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is attainable that qualifies the graduate to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degree levels that are offered to prospective students in the Douglas AZ area:

  • Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are usually offered by community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a component of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to prep students to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor's degrees, they normally require 4 years to complete 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 also must 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 the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an important element in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in some 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 USA. 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 Colleges

Douglas Arizona woman taking physical therapy classes onlineAlthough not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist degrees available, 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 necessitates that the student live near the school campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online part of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Douglas AZ residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition might be significantly less than similar on-campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.

Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges

At this point you most likely have come to decision concerning several of your initial queries, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Douglas AZ area and across Arizona, you'll need to research additional qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of school options. Also, you want to be sure that you choose the college that is ideal for you. That's the reason we have collected a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are thinking about. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited?  Find out if the schools you are looking at 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 enroll in an online college, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the School's Ranking? Along with accreditation, it's imperative 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 college's reputation, beginning 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 organizations for their reviews as well. Call some Douglas AZ physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your program options. It might also be a good idea to check with the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapy schools you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the assistance of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Douglas AZ area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps excellent. It also confirms that the college has a large network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the school you enroll in provides both excellent 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) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the physical therapy programs you are reviewing have associations with Douglas AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Douglas medical community and help with job placement after licensing.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapy program also.

Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapist school they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Douglas AZ residence. Students who have opted to attend online classes naturally 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 bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT colleges offer some type of financial aid to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are considering have a financial aid office and see what kind of aid is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid may be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist school you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Douglas AZ area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.

Find Out More About Douglas Online Physical Therapist Degrees

Enroll in the Right Douglas Physical Therapy School

Picking the right physical therapist program is a necessary first decision you have to make to launch a rewarding career in the health care field. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you decide on should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are other critical questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapy college keep in mind that many factors will lead you to your final decision. You may decide to go to different campuses to view their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me realize 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 options so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Douglas Arizona.


 

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