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How to Select the Right Physical Therapy School Near Eloy Arizona

Eloy Arizona physical therapist working with woman using balance ballReceiving a physical therapist degree near Eloy AZ is a critical first step to starting a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated as a result of illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the necessary training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it's necessary to evaluate the ones you are thinking about to make certain they will deliver a superior education and meet your state's licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is choose a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated along with location and cost. But before we cover 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 is a Physical Therapist?

Eloy Arizona physical therapist helping female patient to walk

Physical therapists practice in diverse settings, such as Eloy 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 earlier touched on, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a course of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Head injuries
  • Heart attacks
  • Sports injuries
  • Burn injuries
  • Hip Replacement
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Eloy AZ health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees Offered

Eloy Arizona physical therapist working with patient in pool

There are 3 physical therapy degree options available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one degree that is available 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 progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief summaries of degree levels that are available to prospective students in the Eloy AZ area:

  • Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically made available by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a component of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to prepare students to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor's degrees, they typically require four years to complete and commonly include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are a requirement if you want 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 finish, making the overall commitment 7 years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential element along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in several states for licensing also.

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 licensed physical therapists having a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapist Online Schools

Eloy Arizona woman taking physical therapist classes onlineAlthough not as prevalent as the more traditional alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, even more 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 close to the school campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online portion of the curriculum can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Eloy AZ residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition may be significantly less than comparable on-campus options, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges

By now you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning several of your initial queries, such as the type of physical therapy degree you want to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the Eloy AZ area and across Arizona, you'll need to explore additional qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of school options. Also, you need to make certain that you choose the college that is ideal for you. That's why we have collected a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions before making a final decision.

Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited?  Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have received accreditation from a national or a regional 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 school, it can also obtain 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 simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the School's Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it's imperative that the college and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT college's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with several Eloy AZ physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your program selections. 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 filed against the colleges.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? There are a two relevant statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapy programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean that students left due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the help of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Eloy AZ area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also affirms that the school 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 essential that the program you choose furnishes both excellent training and a course of study 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) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internships Provided? Find out if the physical therapy schools you are evaluating have associations with Eloy AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Eloy medical community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapy program as well.

Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Eloy AZ home. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose 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 commonly 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 Support Offered? Most DPT colleges provide some type of financial aid to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department and find out what type of assistance is available. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. Some physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance might be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapy program you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Eloy AZ area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.

Learn More About Eloy Physical Therapist Degrees

Enroll in the Right Eloy Physical Therapy School

Choosing the right physical therapist program is an important initial decision you need to make to start a rewarding career in the health care field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you choose should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. However there are additional relevant questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapy program keep in mind that a number of variables will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You might want to visit each of the schools to view their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me achieve my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the best choice. And with the proper training and education, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Eloy Arizona.


 

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