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How to Select the Right Physical Therapy Degree Program Near Globe Arizona

Globe Arizona physical therapist working with woman holding exercise ballReceiving a physical therapist degree near Globe AZ is an important first step to launching a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled as a result of illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can 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 all states, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it's necessary to investigate those you are considering to make sure they will supply a superior education and comply with your state's licensing requirements. What you should not do is choose a college just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be considered besides cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we'll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.

What is a Physical Therapist?

Globe Arizona DPT helping woman to walk

Physical therapists work in diverse locations, including Globe AZ hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they create a program of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Strokes
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Burn injuries
  • Knee Replacement
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Multiple Sclerosis

Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Globe AZ medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees Offered

Globe Arizona physical therapist working with man in pool

There are 3 physical therapy degrees offered for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is attainable that qualifies the graduate to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degrees that are offered to prospective students in the Globe AZ area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually made available by junior or community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a component of the course of study.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist training to prepare students to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor's degrees, they typically require 4 years to finish and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are required in order to become a practicing licensed physical therapist. The degree program also must 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 total investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an important element in addition to the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in some states for licensing as well.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced 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 in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapy Programs Online

Globe Arizona woman taking physical therapist classes onlineAlthough not as prevalent as the on-campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs available, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Globe AZ residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat less than similar on campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.

What to Ask Physical Therapist Programs

At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning some of your preliminary questions, such as the type of physical therapy degree you intend to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are so many PT colleges within the Globe AZ area and across Arizona, you'll need to explore other qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of college choices. Moreover, you want to be sure that you pick the college that is right for you. That's the reason we have compiled a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions prior to making a final decision.

Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited?  Find out if the schools you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously 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 program, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapist program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the College's Reputation? Along with accreditation, it's essential that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can look into a PT program's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with some Globe AZ physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your school selections. It might also be prudent to check with the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the Program's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two important statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapy schools you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Globe AZ area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even outstanding. It also affirms that the college has a large network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the school you select furnishes both exceptional training and a course of study 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapy programs you are assessing have associations with Globe AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Globe healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program as well.

Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist school they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Globe AZ home. Students who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. 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 might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? The majority of DPT schools offer some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are examining have a financial assistance office and see what type of help is available. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance might be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapist program you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Globe AZ area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Globe Physical Therapy Training

Enroll in the Right Globe Physical Therapy School

Deciding on the best physical therapist program is an important initial decision you need to make to begin a gratifying career in the medical field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you select should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. However there are other relevant questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapist program keep in mind that numerous factors will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You may want to go to different schools to view their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical 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 be able to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Globe Arizona.


 

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