How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapy College Near Fort Mohave Arizona
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Fort Mohave AZ is an essential first step to starting a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated 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 acquire the necessary education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it's essential to research the ones you are considering to make sure they will deliver a superior education and satisfy your state's licensing requirements. What you should not do is select a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be evaluated in addition to location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we'll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists work in varying settings, such as Fort Mohave AZ hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest
- Sports injuries
- Fire injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Fort Mohave AZ medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Offered
There are three physical therapy degree options offered for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one degree that is offered that qualifies the graduate to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief summaries of degree levels that are offered to prospective students in the Fort Mohave AZ area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are most often offered 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 portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor's Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to prep candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to becoming 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 mandated if you want 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 3 years to finish, making the overall investment of time 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an intregal element in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, 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 available in the USA. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Programs
Although not as common as the on campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online part of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Fort Mohave AZ residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition can be somewhat less than comparable on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
At this point you probably have made a decision concerning a few of your initial queries, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you want to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges 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 school choices. Moreover, you want to make sure that you enroll in the program that is right for you. That's why we have put together a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Ask if the schools you are reviewing 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 enroll in an online school, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program's Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it's imperative that the school and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can research a PT school's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Call a few Fort Mohave AZ physical therapy clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your college options. It may also be prudent to check with the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the Program's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two relevant statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students left due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Fort Mohave AZ area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also affirms that the school has a wide network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment after graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the program you select furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist programs you are evaluating have partnerships with Fort Mohave AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Fort Mohave medical community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program as well.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapist school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Fort Mohave AZ residence. Students who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? The majority of DPT colleges offer some type of financial support to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance office and see what kind of aid is obtainable. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating 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 must confirm that the physical therapist college you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fort Mohave AZ area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Fort Mohave Physical Therapy School
Choosing the right physical therapy college is a necessary initial decision you must make to begin a gratifying career in the healthcare profession. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you choose should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are additional critical questions that you need to ask regarding your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapist program keep in mind that many variables will guide you toward your final decision. You might want to visit each of the campuses to see their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the best selection. And with the proper training and education, you can achieve your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Fort Mohave Arizona.