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How to Select the Right Physical Therapy School Near Glendale Arizona

Glendale Arizona physical therapist working with woman holding balance ballObtaining a physical therapist degree near Glendale AZ is a critical first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated as a result of injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the necessary education and training. A PT must also become licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it's important to evaluate those you are thinking about to make sure they will furnish a superior education and satisfy your state's licensing requirements. What you should not do is enroll in a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be evaluated in addition to cost and location. But before we cover what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we'll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.

What Do Physical Therapists Do?

Glendale Arizona physical therapist assisting woman to walk

Physical therapists work in varying locations, including Glendale AZ private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they create a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also strive to stop any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Head injuries
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Fire injuries
  • Hip Replacement
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Glendale AZ medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees Offered

Glendale Arizona physical therapist working with man in pool

There are 3 physical therapy degrees available for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is attainable that qualifies the graduate to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are brief summaries of degree levels that are offered to prospective students in the Glendale AZ area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are usually made available by junior or community colleges, and require two years for completion. 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 therapy training to ready candidates to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor's degrees, they normally take four years to complete and commonly include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are required if you want to become a practicing licensed physical therapist. The degree program also must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). After earning the bachelor's degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to finish, making the total investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal component in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in some states for licensing as well.

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 USA. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapist Degrees Online

Glendale Arizona female student taking physical therapist classes onlineAlthough not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy programs available, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Glendale AZ residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition can be significantly lower than comparable on campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Schools

At this point you probably have made a decision regarding some of your initial queries, including the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Glendale AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll have to look into other qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college options. Also, you need to make certain that you choose the college that is ideal for you. That's why we have compiled a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited?  Ask if the programs you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As earlier mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you select an online school, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the College's Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it's essential that the college and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT college's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact some Glendale AZ physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your program options. 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 College's Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapist programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might mean that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Glendale AZ area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also affirms that the college has a large network of contacts to help students get internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the college you choose furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internships Provided? Find out if the physical therapist schools you are interested in have relationships with Glendale AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may help students and graduates form professional relationships in the Glendale health care community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person 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 permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program as well.

Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Glendale AZ residence. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college 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 frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Help Provided? Most DPT colleges supply some type of financial aid to their prospective students. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance office and see what type of help is obtainable. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. Some physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance might be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapist school you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Glendale AZ area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option 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 because of illness, work or family obligations.

Find Out More About Glendale Online Physical Therapy Degrees

Choose the Best Glendale Physical Therapy School

Selecting the ideal physical therapist college is an important initial decision you need to make to start a gratifying career in the healthcare profession. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you enroll in should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are additional critical questions that you should ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapy college bear in mind that a number of factors will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You may want to visit different colleges to see their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me achieve 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 field so you can make the right selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Glendale Arizona.


 

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