How to Find the Right Physical Therapist Training Program Near Gold Canyon Arizona
Getting a physical therapist degree near Gold Canyon AZ is an essential first step to launching a rewarding career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated as a result of illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the necessary education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it's important to research the ones you are looking at to make sure they will provide a superior education and satisfy your state's licensing criteria. What you should not do is choose a school just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has cheapest 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 cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists work in a variety of locations, including Gold Canyon AZ hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. 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 individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries
- Heart attacks
- Sports injuries
- Burn injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Gold Canyon AZ medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to take note of for anyone considering entering the physical therapy field, 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 Therapist Degrees Available
There are three physical therapist degree options available for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is offered that qualifies the graduate to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short summaries of degree levels that are offered to prospective students in the Gold Canyon AZ area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually made available by community or junior colleges, and take about two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a portion of the program.
- Bachelor's Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy training to prep students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor's degrees, they normally take four years to finish and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement in order to become a licensed practicing 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 overall commitment seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential component in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in several 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 offered in the United States. A number of practicing physical therapists having a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Programs Online
While not as prevalent as the more traditional options, there are many accredited online physical therapy programs available, more so 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 necessitates that the student live near the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online portion of the program may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Gold Canyon AZ residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition might be somewhat less than similar on-campus options, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
By now you most likely have made a decision concerning some of your preliminary questions, like the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the Gold Canyon AZ area and across Arizona, you'll have to explore additional qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of school options. Moreover, you need to be sure that you choose the school that is best for you. That's the reason 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 potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Find out if the schools you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As previously mentioned, 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 school, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapist program and school you enroll in 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 receive a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School's Standing? Along with accreditation, it's important that the college and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT school'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 also. Get in touch with several Gold Canyon AZ physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your school options. It may also be a good idea to check with the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of useful statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapist colleges you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction 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 Gold Canyon AZ area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or even outstanding. It also confirms that the program has a large network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the school you select furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that satisfies 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapist programs you are evaluating have associations with Gold Canyon AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional relationships in the Gold Canyon medical community and assist with job placement once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program also.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapist school they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Gold Canyon AZ home. Those who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often 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 Help Offered? The majority of DPT schools supply some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department and see what kind of aid is available. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapy program you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Gold Canyon AZ area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Gold Canyon Physical Therapy School
Selecting the ideal physical therapy school is an important first decision you must make to begin a gratifying career in the medical field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you choose should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are additional critical questions that you need to ask regarding your school of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapist college bear in mind that a number of variables will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You may decide to go to each of the colleges to see their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me accomplish 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 appropriate choice. And with the proper training and education, you can accomplish your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Gold Canyon Arizona.