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How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapy Course Near Green Valley Arizona

Green Valley Arizona physical therapist working with female patient holding balance ballReceiving a physical therapist degree near Green Valley AZ is a critical first step to launching a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled as a result of injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the proper education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it's essential to research those you are considering to make sure they will furnish a superior education and satisfy your state's licensing standards. What you do not want to do is choose a college just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be considered besides location and cost. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we'll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.

What is a Physical Therapist?

Green Valley Arizona physical therapist assisting woman to walk

Physical therapists work in varying locations, such as Green Valley AZ private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Strokes
  • Heart attacks
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Burn injuries
  • Knee Replacement
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Green Valley AZ health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also manage several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees Available

Green Valley Arizona DPT working with man in pool

There are 3 physical therapy degree options offered for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is available that qualifies the graduate to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short explanations of degrees that are available to prospective students in the Green Valley AZ area:

  • Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are most often made available by community or junior colleges, and require 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a portion of the course of study.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy education to prepare students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to becoming a PT. As with 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 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 three years to finish, making the overall commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an important component along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in some states for licensing also.

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 USA. 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 instituted.

Physical Therapist Schools Online

Green Valley Arizona female student taking physical therapy training onlineAlthough not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the curriculum can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Green Valley AZ home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition might be somewhat lower than similar on-campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.

Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Programs

By now you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding several of your preliminary queries, like the type of physical therapy degree you intend to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Green Valley AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll need to explore other qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of college options. Moreover, you need to make sure that you select the college that is best for you. That's the reason we have compiled a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering. Ask all of the competing schools these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited?  Ask if the schools you are reviewing 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 enroll in an online school, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the School's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's imperative that the college and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can research a PT college's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Contact a few Green Valley AZ physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your program options. It might 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 colleges.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might 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 help of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Green Valley AZ area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even exceptional. It also confirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the school you enroll in provides both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements 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) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapy colleges you are interested in have associations with Green Valley AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Green Valley medical community and assist with job placement once licensed.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are considering 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 decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program also.

Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Green Valley AZ residence. Those who have chosen 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. One thing 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 may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT colleges supply some type of financial aid to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are examining have a financial aid office and find out what kind of aid is offered. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance might be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapist program you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Green Valley AZ area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Green Valley Online Physical Therapist Majors

Enroll in the Right Green Valley Physical Therapy School

Choosing the best physical therapist school is a necessary first decision you must make to begin a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you pick should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are additional relevant questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapist program bear in mind that many factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might want to visit each of the schools to see their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Green Valley Arizona.


 

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