How to Find the Right Physical Therapist School Near Golden Valley Arizona
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Golden Valley AZ is an essential first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated 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 obtain the appropriate training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it's necessary to evaluate those you are considering to make certain they will furnish a superior education and comply with your state's licensing standards. What you do not want to do is select a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be considered along with 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 Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in varying locations, including Golden Valley 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 touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they design a program of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also strive to stop any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Burn injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Golden Valley AZ health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are three physical therapist degree options offered for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate 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 concentrate on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degree levels that are available to prospective students in the Golden Valley AZ area:
- Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are most often made available by community colleges, and require two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally part of the course of study.
- Bachelor's Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to prepare candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor's degrees, they normally require four years to complete and often incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required 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 intregal component in addition to the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, 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 eliminated and is no longer attainable in the USA. A number of practicing physical therapists having a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Degrees
Although not as common as the on-campus options, 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, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the curriculum can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Golden Valley AZ residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition may be somewhat less than similar on campus options, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
By now you most likely have made a decision concerning some of your initial queries, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to attain, 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 Golden Valley AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll need to research other qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Moreover, you want to be sure that you pick the college that is best for you. That's why we have put together a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Ask if the schools you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online school, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapist program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the College's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's imperative that the school and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can research a PT college's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call some Golden Valley AZ physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your school selections. It may also be prudent to check with the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the School's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapy schools you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students left due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, 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 Golden Valley AZ area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even outstanding. It also affirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the program you enroll in provides both excellent training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria for Arizona or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the physical therapy programs you are assessing have partnerships with Golden Valley AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Golden Valley medical community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
What Size 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. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapy program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy school they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Golden Valley 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 area internships will be of concern. Something 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 may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
Is Financial Support Provided? Most DPT schools offer some form of financial aid to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at have a financial aid office and see what type of aid is offered. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. Some physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapy school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Golden Valley AZ area, make sure that they are available. 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, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Golden Valley Physical Therapy School
Picking the ideal physical therapy program is an important initial decision you need to make to launch a rewarding career in the healthcare profession. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you pick should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are additional critical questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapist school keep in mind that numerous variables will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You might decide to go to different campuses to see their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the best selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Golden Valley Arizona.