How to Find the Right Physical Therapist Training Program Near Eloy Arizona
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Eloy AZ is an important first step to launching a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled as a result of injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it's essential to research the ones you are thinking about to make sure they will furnish a superior education and satisfy your state's licensing standards. What you do not want to do is enroll in a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be evaluated along with cost and location. But before we talk about 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 is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in diverse locations, including Eloy AZ private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and reduce 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:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Burn injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Eloy AZ health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to bear 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 Therapy Degrees Available
There are three physical therapist degrees available for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is attainable that qualifies the graduate to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are brief descriptions of degree levels that are available to prospective students in the Eloy AZ area:
- Associate Degrees train students to be 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 qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often made available by community or junior colleges, and require two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor's Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy training to prep candidates to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor's degrees, they generally take 4 years to complete and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required if you want to become a practicing licensed physical therapist. The degree program also must 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 total commitment 7 years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an important component along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in several 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 available in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists having a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Online Schools
While not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Eloy AZ home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat less than comparable on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
By now you probably have made a decision concerning a few of your preliminary queries, including the type of physical therapy degree you intend to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the Eloy AZ area and across Arizona, you'll need to research additional qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of school options. Furthermore, you need to make certain that you enroll in the school that is ideal for you. That's the reason we have put together a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are considering 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 enroll in an online program, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's essential that the college and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can look into a PT school's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Call a few Eloy AZ physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your college selections. It may also be a good idea to contact the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the College's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two significant statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Eloy AZ area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even outstanding. It also affirms that the program has a large network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the school you enroll in furnishes both exceptional training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria for Arizona or the state where you will be working. 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 college. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are interested in have associations with Eloy AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Eloy health care community and assist with job placement after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Eloy AZ home. Students who have opted to attend online classes 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 keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Most DPT colleges offer some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have a financial aid office and see what type of assistance is available. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapy school you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Eloy AZ area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Eloy Physical Therapy School
Deciding on the ideal physical therapist college is a necessary first decision you must make to start a gratifying career in the healthcare profession. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you decide on should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. But 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 college keep in mind that numerous variables will guide you toward your final decision. You might decide to visit different campuses to see their facilities and speak with current 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 following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the ideal selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Eloy Arizona.