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How to Select the Right Physical Therapist Training Program Near Green Valley Arizona

Green Valley Arizona physical therapist working with female patient holding exercise ballGetting a physical therapy degree near Green Valley AZ is a critical first step to starting a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled due to injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the proper education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it's essential to investigate the ones you are thinking about to make certain they will furnish a superior education and satisfy your state's licensing criteria. What you should not do is select a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated besides location and cost. 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?

Green Valley Arizona physical therapist assisting woman to walk

Physical therapists work in a variety of settings, such as Green Valley AZ hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Strokes
  • Heart attacks
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Fire injuries
  • Knee Replacement
  • Sciatica
  • Multiple Sclerosis

Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Green Valley AZ medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees Available

Green Valley Arizona DPT working with patient in pool

There are 3 physical therapy degree options offered for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is available 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 readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief summaries of degrees that are offered to prospective students in the Green Valley AZ area:

  • Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are usually offered by community or junior colleges, and take about two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically part of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to ready candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor's degrees, they typically take four years to finish and usually include an internship program of at least 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). After earning the bachelor's degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the overall investment of time seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal element along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in a number of 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 having a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapist Online Programs

Green Valley Arizona female student taking physical therapist classes onlineWhile not as prevalent as the on-campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist programs available, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online part of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Green Valley AZ residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat lower than similar on campus options, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs 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 learn at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Schools

By now you probably have come to decision regarding several of your preliminary queries, including the type of physical therapist degree you would like to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the Green Valley AZ area and across Arizona, you'll need to explore additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college choices. Also, you need to be sure that you select the school that is ideal for you. That's why we have put together a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing schools these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited?  Ask if the schools you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As earlier 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 choose an online program, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapist 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the College's Ranking? Along with accreditation, it's essential that the college and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT school's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with some Green Valley AZ physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your program selections. 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 submitted against the schools.

What is the College's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapy colleges you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Green Valley AZ area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also confirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It's important that the college you select furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum 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) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are assessing have relationships with Green Valley AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Green Valley medical community and help with job placement once licensed.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. 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 talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program also.

Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they select will need to be within driving distance of their Green Valley AZ home. Students who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to keep 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 need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Aid Offered? The majority of DPT schools offer some type of financial aid to their prospective students. Find out if the schools you are considering have a financial aid office and find out what kind of aid is available. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial aid might be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapy college you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Green Valley AZ area, make certain 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 carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.

Find Out More About Green Valley Online Physical Therapist Degrees

Choose the Right Green Valley Physical Therapy School

Choosing the best physical therapy college is an important first decision you need to make to start a gratifying career in the medical field. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you decide on should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are additional relevant questions that you should ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist program keep in mind that numerous variables will guide you toward your final decision. You might want to go to different schools to view their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the right choice. And with the proper training and education, you can accomplish your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Green Valley Arizona.


 

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