How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapist College Near Flowing Wells Arizona
Obtaining a physical therapy degree near Flowing Wells AZ is an essential first step to starting a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated due to injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the necessary education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it's important to research those you are thinking about to ensure they will furnish a superior education and meet your state's licensing criteria. What you should not do is enroll in a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be evaluated in addition to cost and location. 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 Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists practice in varying locations, including Flowing Wells AZ hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers 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 individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a program of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries
- Cardiac arrest
- Sports injuries
- Burn injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Flowing Wells AZ health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are 3 physical therapist degree options available for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is offered that qualifies the graduate to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short descriptions of degree levels that are offered to prospective students in the Flowing Wells AZ area:
- Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often made available by community colleges, and take about two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor's Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy training to ready candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor's degrees, they typically require four years to complete and often incorporate an internship program of at least 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). 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 considerable classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not solely 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 available in the USA. A number of practicing physical therapists holding 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 Schools Online
Although not as common as the more traditional options, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online portion of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Flowing Wells AZ residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat less than similar on-campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you most likely have made a decision regarding some of your initial queries, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you intend to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the Flowing Wells AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll need to look into other qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of school options. Furthermore, you want to be sure that you enroll in the program that is best for you. That's why we have compiled a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you enroll in an online school, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College's Ranking? Along with accreditation, it's imperative that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT college's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call some Flowing Wells AZ physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your college options. It may also be prudent to contact the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the School's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist schools you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, 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 Flowing Wells AZ area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also confirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the college you enroll in furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapist colleges you are evaluating have associations with Flowing Wells AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Flowing Wells healthcare community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program also.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Flowing Wells AZ residence. Individuals who have decided 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 importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Most DPT colleges provide some type of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial aid office and see what kind of assistance is available. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. Some physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapy school you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Flowing Wells AZ area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Flowing Wells Physical Therapist School
Deciding on the best physical therapy school is an important first decision you must make to launch a gratifying career in the healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you select should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are other important questions that you should ask regarding your college of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapy program keep in mind that a number of factors will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You might decide to visit different schools to see their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me achieve my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the right choice. And with the proper training and education, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Flowing Wells Arizona.