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How to Find the Right Physical Therapist School Near Holbrook Arizona

Holbrook Arizona physical therapist working with female patient using exercise ballGetting a physical therapist degree near Holbrook AZ is an essential first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated 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 be licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it's important to research the ones you are thinking about to ensure they will supply a quality education and meet your state's licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be evaluated in addition to cost and location. 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 Do Physical Therapists Do?

Holbrook Arizona physical therapist assisting female patient to walk

Physical therapists practice in diverse locations, such as Holbrook AZ private practices, hospitals, 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 patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to address the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Head injuries
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Fire injuries
  • Hip Replacement
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Holbrook AZ health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degree Options

Holbrook Arizona physical therapist working with man in pool

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

  • Associate Degrees train 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 GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically provided by community colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a component of the program.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy training to prep candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor's degrees, they generally take 4 years to finish and commonly include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are mandated 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 three years to complete, making the total investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an important component along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in a number of states for licensing also.

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 licensed physical therapists having a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapist Online Programs

Holbrook Arizona female student taking physical therapist courses onlineWhile not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature 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 nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the curriculum can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Holbrook AZ residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition can be somewhat lower than similar on campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Schools

By now you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning several of your preliminary questions, including the kind of physical therapist degree you want to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Holbrook AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll have to research other qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of school choices. Moreover, you need to make certain that you pick the school that is right for you. That's why we have compiled a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As previously 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 can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the School's Ranking? Along with accreditation, it's imperative that the school and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT program's reputation, beginning with asking for 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 also. Get in touch with several Holbrook AZ physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your school options. It may also be a good idea to check with the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the schools.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? There are a two relevant statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students left due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After 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 program has a high job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also confirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the program you enroll in provides both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapy schools you are reviewing have relationships with Holbrook AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to receive practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional relationships in the Holbrook health care community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapy program as well.

Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Holbrook AZ home. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear 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 need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often 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 potential students. Inquire if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department and see what kind of aid is obtainable. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid might be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapy college you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Holbrook AZ area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses 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.

Find Out More About Holbrook Physical Therapist Programs

Enroll in the Right Holbrook Physical Therapy School

Choosing the right physical therapy school is a necessary initial decision you must make to begin a gratifying career in the health care profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you choose should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are other important questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapy college bear in mind that many variables will lead you toward your final decision. You may want to visit different campuses to see their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the right choice. And with the proper training and education, you can achieve your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Holbrook Arizona.


 

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