How to Choose the Right Physical Therapist Course Near Fort Mohave Arizona
Receiving a physical therapy degree near Fort Mohave AZ is an important first step to starting a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled due to illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the necessary training and education. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it's necessary to evaluate the ones you are considering to make certain they will supply a quality education and comply with your state's licensing standards. What you do not want to do is select a school just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be evaluated in addition to cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we'll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in varying settings, such as Fort Mohave AZ hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also strive to stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Burn injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Fort Mohave AZ medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Available
There are three physical therapist degree options available for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is attainable that qualifies the graduate to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short explanations of degree levels that are available to prospective students in the Fort Mohave AZ area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are most often made available by community or junior colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically part of the program.
- Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training to prepare students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor's degrees, they normally take four years to finish and usually incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated in order to become a practicing licensed physical therapist. The degree program must also 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 overall commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an intregal component in addition to the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not just 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 phased out and is no longer offered in the USA. Some licensed 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 implemented.
Physical Therapy Colleges Online
While not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist 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 necessitates that the student live near the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online part of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Fort Mohave AZ home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition might be somewhat lower than similar on-campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
By now you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding some of your initial queries, like the kind of physical therapy degree you intend to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Fort Mohave AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll need to look into additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college options. Furthermore, you want to make certain that you pick the school that is ideal for you. That's the reason we have collected a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As earlier stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you select an online college, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapist program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the College's Reputation? Along with accreditation, it's important that the school and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can research a PT college's reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with several Fort Mohave AZ physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your college options. It may also be prudent to check with the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Fort Mohave AZ area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even outstanding. It also verifies that the program has a broad network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the college you choose furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports 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 therapist college. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing have partnerships with Fort Mohave AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Fort Mohave health care community and assist with job placement once licensed.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program also.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Fort Mohave AZ home. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT schools supply some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Ask if the colleges you are examining have a financial assistance office and see what kind of help is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating 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 choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Fort Mohave AZ area, verify that they are offered. 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 procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Fort Mohave Physical Therapy School
Choosing the best physical therapy program is a necessary first decision you must make to start a fulfilling career in the medical profession. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you select should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are other relevant questions that you should ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist college keep in mind that a number of factors will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You may want to go to different campuses to view their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the ideal selection. And with the proper training and education, you can accomplish your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Fort Mohave Arizona.