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How to Select the Right Physical Therapist College Near Fort Mohave Arizona

Fort Mohave Arizona physical therapist working with female patient holding exercise ballGetting a physical therapy degree near Fort Mohave AZ is an essential first step to launching a fulfilling career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated as a result of injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the necessary education and training. A PT must also become licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it's important to evaluate those you are considering to make sure they will deliver a superior education and meet your state's licensing standards. What you do not want to do is select a college just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be considered besides cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we'll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.

What is a Physical Therapist's Job Description?

Fort Mohave Arizona DPT assisting female patient to walk

Physical therapists work in a variety of settings, such as Fort Mohave AZ private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Head injuries
  • Heart attacks
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Fire injuries
  • Knee Replacement
  • Sciatica
  • Multiple Sclerosis

Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Fort Mohave AZ health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees

Fort Mohave Arizona DPT working with patient in pool

There are three physical therapy degree options available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is offered that qualifies the graduate to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degrees that are offered to prospective students in the Fort Mohave AZ area:

  • Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually provided by community or junior colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a portion of the program.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to ready candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor's degrees, they normally require 4 years to finish and commonly include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are a requirement in order to become a licensed practicing 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 seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal component in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in a number of states for licensing also.

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 available in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapy Online Schools

Fort Mohave Arizona woman taking physical therapy classes onlineWhile not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online part of the program may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Fort Mohave AZ home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat less than similar on-campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.

What to Ask Physical Therapy Schools

At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning several of your initial questions, such as the type of physical therapist degree you would like to attain, 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 Fort Mohave AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll need to explore other qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school choices. Also, you need to make certain that you enroll in the program that is ideal for you. That's why we have put together a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are considering. Ask each of the competing schools these questions before making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are considering 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 choose an online school, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapist program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the College's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's important that the college and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT program's reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact several Fort Mohave AZ physical therapy centers or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your school selections. It may also be a good idea to check with the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? There are a two useful statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the help of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Fort Mohave AZ area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps excellent. It also affirms that the school has a wide network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the school you select furnishes both superior training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the physical therapy schools you are evaluating have associations with Fort Mohave AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Fort Mohave medical community and assist with job placement after licensing.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program also.

Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Fort Mohave 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 local 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 even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Support Offered? Most DPT schools offer some type of financial support to their prospective students. Inquire 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 getting a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. A number of physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid may be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapy program you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Fort Mohave AZ area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.

Learn More About Fort Mohave Physical Therapy Training

Enroll in the Best Fort Mohave Physical Therapist School

Picking the best physical therapy college is an important first decision you have to make to begin a rewarding career in the healthcare profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you select should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are other important questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapy college bear in mind that a number of factors will lead you to your final decision. You may want to visit each of the campuses to see their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me achieve 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 right selection. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Fort Mohave Arizona.


 

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