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How to Choose the Right Physical Therapy Degree Program Near Gold Canyon Arizona

Gold Canyon Arizona physical therapist working with female patient using exercise ballObtaining a physical therapy degree near Gold Canyon AZ is a critical first step to beginning a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled due to injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the necessary training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it's necessary to investigate the ones you are thinking about to ensure they will furnish a quality education and meet your state's licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is select a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must 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 cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.

What Do Physical Therapists Do?

Gold Canyon Arizona DPT assisting female patient to walk

Physical therapists work in varying settings, such as Gold Canyon AZ hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Strokes
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Sports injuries
  • Fire injuries
  • Knee Replacement
  • Sciatica
  • Multiple Sclerosis

Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Gold Canyon AZ health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees

Gold Canyon Arizona physical therapist working with man in pool

There are three physical therapist degrees offered for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is attainable that qualifies the graduate to practice as 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. Following are brief descriptions of degree levels that are offered to prospective students in the Gold Canyon AZ area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are usually offered by community or junior colleges, and require two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually part of the course of study.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to prep candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor's degrees, they generally require four years to finish and often incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are mandated 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 complete, making the total investment of time 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an essential component along with the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not solely 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 phased out and is no longer attainable in the United States. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapist Colleges Online

Gold Canyon Arizona female student taking physical therapist courses onlineWhile not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist degrees available, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Gold Canyon AZ home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition might be significantly less than comparable on-campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.

Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Schools

By now you probably have come to decision regarding several of your preliminary queries, like the kind of physical therapist degree you intend to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Gold Canyon AZ area and across Arizona, you'll need to look into additional qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of school options. Furthermore, you want to make certain that you select the college that is ideal for you. That's the reason we have collected a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy colleges you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited?  Find out if the colleges you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. 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 enroll in an online school, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapy school and program you select are accredited, not just the school. Also, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the College's Standing? Along with accreditation, it's imperative that the college and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several ways you can investigate a PT program's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Call a few Gold Canyon AZ physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your program options. It may also be prudent to check with the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? There are a two important statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students left due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, 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 Gold Canyon AZ area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or even exceptional. It also verifies that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the program you select furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria for Arizona or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapy colleges you are evaluating have associations with Gold Canyon AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Gold Canyon health care community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are looking at what the average student to teacher 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 a chance to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program also.

Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Gold Canyon AZ residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Support Provided? The majority of DPT schools supply some type of financial aid to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial aid office and find out what kind of help is available. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance may be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapy program you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Gold Canyon AZ area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Gold Canyon Online Physical Therapy Schools

Choose the Best Gold Canyon Physical Therapy School

Selecting the right physical therapy school is an important first decision you need to make to start a rewarding career in the medical profession. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you enroll in should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are other important questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapy program bear in mind that many variables will guide you to your final decision. You may want to go to different campuses to view their facilities and talk to 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 following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the ideal selection. And with the proper training and education, you can achieve your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Gold Canyon Arizona.


 

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