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How to Pick the Right Physical Therapist Course Near Holbrook Arizona

Holbrook Arizona physical therapist working with female patient using balance ballReceiving a physical therapist degree near Holbrook AZ is an important first step to beginning a rewarding career in the medical care 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 work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the appropriate education and training. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it's essential to research those you are considering to ensure they will supply a superior education and satisfy your state's licensing requirements. What you should not do is enroll in a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be considered in addition to cost and location. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we'll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.

What is a Physical Therapist?

Holbrook Arizona DPT assisting female patient to walk

Physical therapists practice in a variety of settings, such as Holbrook AZ hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Head injuries
  • Heart attacks
  • Sports injuries
  • Fire injuries
  • Knee Replacement
  • Sciatica
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Holbrook AZ medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees Available

Holbrook Arizona DPT working with man in pool

There are 3 physical therapy degrees available for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate 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 preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short summaries of degrees that are offered to prospective students in the Holbrook AZ area:

  • Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or can 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 most often provided by junior or community colleges, and take about two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally part of the program.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to ready students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor's degrees, they typically require 4 years to finish and often include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are required in order to become a licensed practicing 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 3 years to finish, making the overall commitment 7 years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential component along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in several 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 offered 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 existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapist Online Programs

Holbrook Arizona woman taking physical therapist courses onlineAlthough not as common as the on campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Holbrook AZ home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition can be significantly lower than similar on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.

Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges

At this point you probably have come to decision regarding some of your initial questions, including the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Holbrook AZ area and across Arizona, you'll need to research additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school options. Moreover, you need to be sure that you choose the program that is right for you. That's the reason we have collected a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final decision.

Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited?  Find out if the schools you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. 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 enroll in an online college, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapy school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program's Ranking? Along with accreditation, it's essential that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT program's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact several Holbrook AZ physical therapy clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your school options. It might also be prudent to check with the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? There are a two significant statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy schools you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Holbrook AZ area? If a school 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 help students get internships or employment after graduation.

Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's important that the program you choose provides both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria for Arizona or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapist schools you are interested in have associations with Holbrook AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Holbrook healthcare community and help with job placement after licensing.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering 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 determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapy program as well.

Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy school they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Holbrook AZ home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Help Provided? The majority of DPT schools offer some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department and find out what kind of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any grants you might be eligible 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 aid might be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapist program you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Holbrook AZ area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.

Learn More About Holbrook Online Physical Therapist Degrees

Enroll in the Right Holbrook Physical Therapy School

Selecting the ideal physical therapist college is an important initial decision you have to make to begin a rewarding career in the medical field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you pick should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are other important questions that you need to ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapist program keep in mind that numerous variables will lead you toward your final decision. You might decide to visit different schools to view their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Holbrook Arizona.


 

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