How to Select the Right Physical Therapy Training Program Near Guadalupe Arizona
Getting a physical therapist degree near Guadalupe AZ is an essential first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated as a result of illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the proper training and education. A PT must also become licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it's essential to evaluate the ones you are thinking about to make certain they will supply a superior education and meet your state's licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be considered along with location and cost. But before we discuss 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?
Physical therapists practice in varying settings, such as Guadalupe AZ hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries
- Heart attacks
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Burn injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Guadalupe AZ medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also manage several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering 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 Therapist Degrees Offered
There are 3 physical therapy degrees available for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the one 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 readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are brief explanations of degree levels that are available to prospective students in the Guadalupe AZ area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are typically offered by community or junior colleges, and require two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor's Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist training to ready students to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor's degrees, they typically require 4 years to complete and often include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement if you want to become a practicing licensed physical therapist. The degree program must also be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). After earning the bachelor's degree, the doctoral takes three years to finish, making the total commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal element in addition to the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in a number of 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 phased out and is no longer attainable in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists having a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Programs Online
While not as prevalent as the more traditional options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online segment of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Guadalupe AZ home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition might be significantly lower than similar on campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
At this point you most likely have made a decision concerning several of your initial queries, like the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Guadalupe AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll have to explore additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college options. Moreover, you need to make certain that you choose the program that is right for you. That's the reason we have collected a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential schools these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Find out if the programs you are reviewing have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As earlier mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you enroll in an online school, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the College's Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it's important that the school and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can investigate a PT program's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Contact several Guadalupe 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 recommendations about your school selections. It may also be a good idea to check with the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? There are a two useful statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Guadalupe AZ area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also verifies that the program has a broad network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the program you choose furnishes 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 needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapy schools you are interested in have partnerships with Guadalupe AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also 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 Guadalupe healthcare community and assist with job placement once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program also.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Guadalupe AZ home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT colleges provide some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of help is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapy college you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Guadalupe AZ area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Guadalupe Physical Therapy School
Selecting the best physical therapy college is a necessary first decision you must make to start a gratifying career in the healthcare profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you pick should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. However there are other relevant questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapy program bear in mind that a number of variables will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You may decide to go to different schools to see their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the right selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Guadalupe Arizona.