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How to Select the Right Physical Therapy School Near Fortuna Foothills Arizona

Fortuna Foothills Arizona physical therapist working with female patient using exercise ballReceiving a physical therapist degree near Fortuna Foothills AZ is a critical first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated due to injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the appropriate education and training. A PT must also be licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it's important to evaluate the ones you are looking at to make certain they will furnish a quality education and meet your state's licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be considered 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 Do Physical Therapists Do?

Fortuna Foothills Arizona DPT helping woman to walk

Physical therapists work in varying locations, including Fortuna Foothills AZ private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Strokes
  • Heart attacks
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Burn injuries
  • Knee Replacement
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Fortuna Foothills AZ medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degree Options

Fortuna Foothills Arizona physical therapist working with man in pool

There are three physical therapy degree options offered for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is offered 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 preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degree levels that are offered to prospective students in the Fortuna Foothills AZ area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are most often offered by junior or community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a portion of the program.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist education to ready students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor's degrees, they typically require 4 years to complete and commonly include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are required 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 3 years to complete, making the total commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal element in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in several states for licensing also.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master's of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer offered in the United States. A number of practicing physical therapists holding a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapist Colleges Online

Fortuna Foothills Arizona woman taking physical therapist classes onlineAlthough not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapy programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online part of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Fortuna Foothills AZ home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition might be significantly less than comparable on campus options, and costs for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.

Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges

By now you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning some of your preliminary queries, like the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Fortuna Foothills AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll have to explore additional qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of school choices. Furthermore, you need to be sure that you pick the school that is ideal for you. That's why we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited?  Find out if the colleges you are looking at have received 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 may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapist school and program 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 organization. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the School's Standing? Along with accreditation, it's essential that the school and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT school's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with several Fortuna Foothills AZ physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your program selections. 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 schools.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist programs you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Fortuna Foothills AZ area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps excellent. It also confirms that the college has a broad network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the college you select furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria 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) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the physical therapy schools you are reviewing have relationships with Fortuna Foothills AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to receive practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates form professional connections in the Fortuna Foothills healthcare community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools 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 instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapy program as well.

Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Fortuna Foothills AZ residence. Those who have decided 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 bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Help Offered? The majority of DPT schools provide some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are considering have a financial aid office and see what kind of aid is obtainable. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. A number of physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance may be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapy school you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fortuna Foothills AZ area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses 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 obligations.

Learn More About Fortuna Foothills Physical Therapy Schools

Choose the Right Fortuna Foothills Physical Therapist School

Choosing the right physical therapy college is an important initial decision you must make to start a rewarding career in the health care profession. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you enroll in should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are additional critical questions that you should ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapy college keep in mind that numerous factors will lead you toward your final decision. You may decide to go to each of the campuses to see their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me reach 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 best choice. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Fortuna Foothills Arizona.


 

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