How to Select the Right Physical Therapy Course Near Eloy Arizona
Getting a physical therapy degree near Eloy AZ is a critical first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled as a result of injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the appropriate education and training. A PT must also become licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it's important to evaluate those you are looking at to make certain they will deliver a quality education and meet your state's licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be considered in addition to location and cost. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we'll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists work in diverse settings, such as Eloy AZ hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor 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
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Fire injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Eloy AZ medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly 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
There are three physical therapist degree options available for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the only 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 readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degree levels that are available to prospective students in the Eloy AZ area:
- Associate Degrees educate 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 equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are most often offered by community or junior colleges, and take about two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor's Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy education to prep candidates to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor's degrees, they normally require four years to complete and often incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required in order 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 overall commitment seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal element along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not only 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 attainable in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Schools Online
While not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to 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 college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online segment of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Eloy AZ residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition can be significantly less than similar on campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you most likely have made a decision regarding several of your preliminary questions, like the type of physical therapist degree you want to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Eloy AZ area and across Arizona, you'll need to look into additional qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of school choices. Also, you want to make sure that you choose the program that is best for you. That's why we have put together a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential schools these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously 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 choose an online program, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the College's Reputation? Along with accreditation, it's essential that the school and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can investigate a PT college's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call a few Eloy AZ physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your college selections. It may also be prudent to contact the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the School's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of useful statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist colleges you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students dropped out because of 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 Eloy AZ area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also confirms that the college has a large network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the school you select furnishes both exceptional training and a course of study that supports 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 program. While licensing requirements differ 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 Offered? Inquire if the physical therapy colleges you are evaluating have associations with Eloy AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to get practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Eloy healthcare community and help with job placement after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program also.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Eloy AZ home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble 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 college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically 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 Aid Provided? Most DPT colleges provide some form of financial aid to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. A number of physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist college you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Eloy AZ area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Eloy Physical Therapy School
Deciding on the best physical therapist college is a necessary initial decision you need to make to begin a gratifying career in the health care field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you select should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. However there are other relevant questions that you need to ask regarding your school of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist program bear in mind that a number of variables will guide you to your ultimate decision. You may want to go to different campuses to view their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me reach 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 options so you can make the best selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Eloy Arizona.