How to Select the Right Physical Therapist Training Program Near Guadalupe Arizona
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Guadalupe AZ is an important first step to beginning a rewarding career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the proper education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it's important to evaluate those you are looking at to ensure they will provide a superior education and comply with your state's licensing standards. What you should not do is choose a college just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be evaluated besides cost and location. But before we cover 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 is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists work in varying locations, including Guadalupe AZ hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries
- Heart attacks
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Burn injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Guadalupe AZ health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Offered
There are three physical therapist degrees offered for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is attainable 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 degree levels that are offered to prospective students in the Guadalupe AZ area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are most often offered by junior or community colleges, and require two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to ready candidates to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor's degrees, they typically require 4 years to complete and usually include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement if you want 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 finish, making the overall investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal component along with the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not just 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 eliminated and is no longer available in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists having a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Colleges
Although not as common as the on campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online part of the program may 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 many instances more economical. Tuition may be significantly lower than similar on campus options, and costs for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
By now you probably have made a decision regarding some of your initial questions, like the type of physical therapy degree you intend to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the Guadalupe AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll have to research other qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college options. Also, you need to make certain that you enroll in the college that is ideal for you. That's why we have collected a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Ask if the programs you are considering have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As earlier stated, 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 obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapist school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the College's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's important that the college and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT school's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can 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 centers or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your program selections. It may also be prudent to check with the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapy programs you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Guadalupe AZ area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even exceptional. It also verifies that the college has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's important that the college you enroll in 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 required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements vary 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 Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the physical therapy colleges you are interested in have associations with Guadalupe AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to receive practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Guadalupe health care community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are looking at 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 a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Guadalupe AZ residence. Those who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT schools supply some form of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are considering have a financial assistance office and see what kind of assistance is offered. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapy school you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Guadalupe AZ area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Guadalupe Physical Therapy School
Choosing the right physical therapist school is an important first decision you have to make to launch a gratifying career in the medical profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you enroll in should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are other important questions that you should ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapy program bear in mind that numerous variables will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You may want to go to different campuses to view their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me achieve my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the best selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Guadalupe Arizona.