How to Select the Right Physical Therapy Course Near Fort Mohave Arizona
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Fort Mohave AZ is an essential first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled due to injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the appropriate education and training. A PT must also be licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it's important to research those you are considering to ensure they will furnish a superior education and meet your state's licensing requirements. What you should not do is select a college just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be considered besides location and cost. 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 Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists work in a variety of settings, such as Fort Mohave AZ hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from 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 issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Burn injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Fort Mohave AZ health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone thinking about getting into 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 Therapy Degrees Offered
There are three physical therapy degrees available for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is attainable that qualifies the graduate to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief explanations of degree levels that are offered to prospective students in the Fort Mohave AZ area:
- Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are most often provided by community colleges, and require two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a portion of the curriculum.
- Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to ready candidates to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor's degrees, they generally take four years to complete and commonly include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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). In addition to the bachelor's degree, the doctoral takes three years to complete, making the overall investment of time 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an intregal component in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely 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 eliminated and is no longer attainable in the United States. A number of practicing physical therapists having a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Programs
Although not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online segment of the program may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Fort Mohave AZ home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition may be somewhat lower than similar on-campus options, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
By now you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning several of your preliminary queries, including the kind of physical therapist degree you want to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Fort Mohave AZ area and across Arizona, you'll need to research additional qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of school choices. Furthermore, you need to be sure that you select the college that is ideal for you. That's the reason we have collected a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Find out if the programs you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As earlier mentioned, 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 imperative that both the physical therapist program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the School's Ranking? Along with accreditation, it's essential that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can investigate a PT school's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call some Fort Mohave AZ physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your school selections. It might 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 schools.
What is the School's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of useful statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapy programs you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Fort Mohave AZ area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even outstanding. It also verifies that the school has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the school you enroll in furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the physical therapist schools you are assessing have associations with Fort Mohave AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to receive practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Fort Mohave healthcare community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program also.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapist school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Fort Mohave AZ home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something 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 may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Support Provided? Most DPT colleges provide some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are examining have a financial assistance office and see what kind of aid is available. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. Some physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapist college you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Fort Mohave AZ area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Fort Mohave Physical Therapist School
Selecting the right physical therapy program is a necessary first decision you must make to launch a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you decide on should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. However there are other relevant questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist school bear in mind that numerous variables will guide you to your ultimate decision. You may want to go to each of the campuses to view their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Fort Mohave Arizona.