How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapist Degree Program Near Guadalupe Arizona
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Guadalupe AZ is an important first step to starting a rewarding career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled as a result of illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the proper training and education. A PT must also become licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it's necessary to research those you are considering to make sure they will deliver a quality education and comply with your state's licensing standards. What you should not do is enroll in a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be considered besides location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we'll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in a variety of settings, including Guadalupe AZ hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also strive to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Burn injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Guadalupe AZ medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage several physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapy degree options available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one degree that is offered 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 prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief summaries of degrees that are available to prospective students in the Guadalupe AZ area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are typically made available by junior or community colleges, and take about two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor's Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to prep students to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor's degrees, they normally take four years to finish and usually 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). 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. Practical or clinical training is an important component along with the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in several states for licensing as well.
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 licensed physical therapists holding a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Colleges Online
Although not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Guadalupe AZ home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition may be significantly lower than comparable on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you probably have come to decision concerning several of your initial queries, such as the type of physical therapist degree you intend to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Guadalupe AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll have to explore other qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school choices. Also, you want to make sure that you pick the school that is best for you. That's why we have put together a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Find out if the programs 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 college, it can 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 simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing 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 Ranking? Along with accreditation, it's essential that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT program's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Get in touch with several Guadalupe AZ physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your college selections. It might also be prudent to contact the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? There are a two significant statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapist colleges you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students left because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Guadalupe AZ area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps excellent. It also affirms that the college has a large network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the college you choose provides both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements 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) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements vary 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 tests.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the physical therapy programs you are reviewing have associations with Guadalupe AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students develop professional connections in the Guadalupe health care community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable 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 final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program also.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Guadalupe AZ residence. Individuals 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. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? Most DPT colleges supply some type of financial support to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are considering have a financial aid office and see what type of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapist college you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Guadalupe AZ area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option 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 might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Guadalupe Physical Therapy School
Deciding on the right physical therapy school is a necessary initial decision you must make to begin a fulfilling career in the health care field. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you choose should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are other relevant questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapy program keep in mind that many factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You may decide to visit each of the campuses to see their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me accomplish 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 best choice. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Guadalupe Arizona.