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How to Find the Right Physical Therapist School Near Fortuna Foothills Arizona

Fortuna Foothills Arizona physical therapist working with female patient holding exercise ballReceiving a physical therapy degree near Fortuna Foothills AZ is an important first step to launching a rewarding career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated due to illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it's essential to investigate those you are thinking about to make certain they will furnish a quality education and meet your state's licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is select a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be considered besides location and cost. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we'll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.

What Do Physical Therapists Do?

Fortuna Foothills Arizona physical therapist assisting woman to walk

Physical therapists work in diverse settings, such as Fortuna Foothills AZ private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Head injuries
  • Heart attacks
  • Sports injuries
  • Burn injuries
  • Hip Replacement
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Fortuna Foothills AZ health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees

Fortuna Foothills Arizona physical therapist working with patient in pool

There are 3 physical therapist degrees available for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one degree that is attainable that qualifies the graduate to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief descriptions of degrees that are available 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 a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are most often made available by community or junior colleges, and require 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually part of the program.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training to ready candidates to advance 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 normally take four years to complete and commonly 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). In addition to the bachelor's degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the overall investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an important component in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in several 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 eliminated and is no longer offered in the USA. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapy Online Programs

Fortuna Foothills Arizona female student taking physical therapy courses onlineWhile not as prevalent as the more traditional alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online segment of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Fortuna Foothills AZ home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition might be significantly lower than comparable on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.

Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Programs

At this point you most likely have come to decision regarding some of your initial questions, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Fortuna Foothills AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll have to explore other qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of college options. Also, you want to be sure that you select the program that is best for you. That's the reason we have put together a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are considering. Ask each of the potential schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited?  Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously stated, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online college, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may 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 imperative that the school and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT college's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact a few Fortuna Foothills AZ physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your school selections. It may also be a good idea to contact the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapist schools you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired 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 health care field is good or even exceptional. It also verifies that the school has a broad network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the school you choose provides both excellent 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 needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the physical therapy colleges you are assessing have partnerships with Fortuna Foothills AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to get hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Fortuna Foothills health care community and help with job placement once licensed.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering 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 final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program also.

Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they select will have to be within driving distance of their Fortuna Foothills AZ home. Those who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide 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 generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Aid Provided? The majority of DPT colleges offer some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have a financial aid office and see what type of help is obtainable. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance might be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapist college you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Fortuna Foothills AZ area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Fortuna Foothills Physical Therapist Colleges

Enroll in the Best Fortuna Foothills Physical Therapist School

Selecting the best physical therapist program is a necessary first decision you have to make to start a fulfilling career in the medical field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you enroll in should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. However there are other relevant questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapist program keep in mind that a number of variables will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might want to go to each of the campuses to see their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed 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 necessary training and education, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Fortuna Foothills Arizona.


 

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