How to Select the Right Physical Therapist School Near Flowing Wells Arizona
Receiving a physical therapy degree near Flowing Wells AZ is an important first step to starting a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the proper education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, 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 essential to research those you are looking at to make sure they will supply a superior education and satisfy your state's licensing standards. What you do not want to do is select a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be evaluated along with location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we'll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists work in diverse locations, including Flowing Wells 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 diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks
- Sports injuries
- Burn injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Flowing Wells AZ medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy field, it is rather 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 Therapy Degrees
There are three physical therapy degrees available for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is attainable that qualifies the graduate to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are brief summaries of degree levels that are available to prospective students in the Flowing Wells AZ area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are most often made available by community or junior colleges, and take about two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a portion of the program.
- Bachelor's Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to prep students to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor's degrees, they generally require 4 years to complete and commonly incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement if you want to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program must also 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 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential component along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in some states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master's of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer attainable in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Colleges Online
While not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online part of the program may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Flowing Wells AZ home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition can be significantly lower than similar on campus options, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many 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 dedicated enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
At this point you most likely have made a decision regarding some of your preliminary queries, like the type of physical therapy degree you would like to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Flowing Wells AZ area and across Arizona, you'll need to look into additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school options. Moreover, you need to make certain that you pick the college that is ideal for you. That's why we have compiled a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Find out if the programs you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. 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 college, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapist program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program's Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it's imperative that the school and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several ways you can investigate a PT program's reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Get in touch with a few Flowing Wells AZ physical therapy centers or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your college options. 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 submitted against the colleges.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Flowing Wells 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 even excellent. It also affirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students get internships or employment after graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's important that the school you select provides both excellent training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements 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. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing have associations with Flowing Wells AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Flowing Wells health care community and assist with job placement once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized 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 ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program also.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Flowing Wells AZ residence. Those who have decided to attend classes online naturally 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 keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? The majority of DPT schools offer some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are considering have a financial assistance department and find out what kind of aid is available. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapy program you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Flowing Wells AZ area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Flowing Wells Physical Therapy School
Deciding on the best physical therapy school is a necessary first decision you must make to launch a fulfilling career in the medical field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you enroll in should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are other important questions that you should ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist school keep in mind that many variables will lead you to your ultimate decision. You may decide to visit different campuses to see their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me reach my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the right choice. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Flowing Wells Arizona.