Home >> Arizona >> Goodyear >> Physical Therapy Major Programs


Get Free Information on Physical Therapist Degree Programs Goodyear AZ 85139

How to Choose the Right Physical Therapy Training Program Near Goodyear Arizona

Goodyear Arizona physical therapist working with female patient holding exercise ballEarning a physical therapist degree near Goodyear AZ is an essential first step to launching a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled as a result of injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it's important to investigate those you are thinking about to ensure they will supply a superior education and comply with your state's licensing standards. What you do not want to do is enroll in a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be considered along with cost and location. But before we discuss 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?

Goodyear Arizona physical therapist helping female patient to walk

Physical therapists practice in varying locations, including Goodyear AZ private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a program of treatment to address the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also strive to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Head injuries
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Fire injuries
  • Hip Replacement
  • Sciatica
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Goodyear AZ health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degree Options

Goodyear Arizona physical therapist working with man in pool

There are three physical therapy degree options available for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is available that qualifies the graduate to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief descriptions of degrees that are offered to prospective students in the Goodyear AZ area:

  • Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or may 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 programs are typically made available by community or junior colleges, and take about two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically part of the program.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to prep students to move up to the doctoral level. Although 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 require four years to complete and commonly incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are required 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 3 years to complete, making the total investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an important component in addition to the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely 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 attainable in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists having a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapy Programs Online

Goodyear Arizona woman taking physical therapist courses onlineWhile not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy programs offered, 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 necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online portion of the curriculum can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Goodyear AZ residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat less than comparable on campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.

Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges

By now you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding some of your initial queries, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the Goodyear AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll need to look into other qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Also, you want to make certain that you enroll in the program that is right for you. That's the reason we have collected a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.

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

What is the College's Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it's imperative that the college and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can research a PT college's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call several Goodyear AZ physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your school selections. It might also be prudent 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 Program's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of important statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Goodyear AZ area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also confirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the college you select provides both excellent training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria 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) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapist schools you are interested in have partnerships with Goodyear AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Goodyear health care 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 get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program as well.

Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Goodyear AZ home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Help Offered? The majority of DPT colleges supply some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial aid department and find out what type of help is offered. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. A number of physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid may be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapist school you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Goodyear AZ area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Goodyear Online Physical Therapist Degrees

Enroll in the Right Goodyear Physical Therapy School

Choosing the right physical therapy program is a necessary first decision you have to make to start a gratifying career in the health care field. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you choose should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are other important questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapist college keep in mind that a number of variables will lead you to your final decision. You might decide to visit each of the campuses to see their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me achieve my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the right choice. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Goodyear Arizona.


 

Goodyear Physical Therapist Degrees | Main | Goodyear Physical Therapy Schools