How to Choose the Right Physical Therapy Training Program 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 healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated as a result of injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the proper training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it's necessary to investigate the ones you are looking at to make certain they will deliver a quality education and comply with your state's licensing requirements. What you should not do is choose a college just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be considered in addition to 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 Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists work in varying locations, such as Flowing Wells AZ hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a course of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries
- Cardiac arrest
- Sports injuries
- Fire injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Flowing Wells AZ health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating 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 long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
There are 3 physical therapist degree options offered for individuals to enroll in 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 emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief explanations of degrees that are available to prospective students in the Flowing Wells AZ area:
- Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are most often provided by junior or community colleges, and take about two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to prepare candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor's degrees, they normally require four years to complete and commonly include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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 finish, making the overall commitment seven years in most cases. Clinical training is an intregal component along with the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in a number of states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master's of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer offered in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Degrees Online
While not as prevalent as the more traditional alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Because of 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 in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Flowing Wells AZ residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition may be significantly less than comparable on-campus options, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
At this point you probably have come to decision regarding several of your initial questions, like the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Flowing Wells AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll need to explore additional qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of college options. Moreover, you need to be sure that you pick the college that is right for you. That's why we have put together a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential schools these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are considering have received 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 school, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapy school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School's Ranking? Along with accreditation, it's imperative that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT program's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Contact several Flowing Wells AZ physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your school 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 submitted against the colleges.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of useful statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapist schools you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students left due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Flowing Wells AZ area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even exceptional. It also affirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the college you choose furnishes both superior training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria for Arizona or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are interested in have partnerships with Flowing Wells AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Flowing Wells medical community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. 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 a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapy program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they select will need to be within driving distance of their Flowing Wells AZ home. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? The majority of DPT schools supply some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department and find out what type of help is offered. 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 school because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapist school you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Flowing Wells AZ area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Flowing Wells Physical Therapist School
Choosing the best physical therapy program is a necessary initial decision you have to make to start a gratifying career in the medical profession. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you pick should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are additional relevant questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapist program keep in mind that a number of factors will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You may decide to visit each of the colleges to view their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me accomplish 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 field so you can make the right selection. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Flowing Wells Arizona.