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How to Choose the Right Physical Therapy School Near Holbrook Arizona

Holbrook Arizona physical therapist working with female patient using balance ballEarning a physical therapy degree near Holbrook AZ is an important first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated as a result of injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the appropriate training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it's essential to research the ones you are thinking about to make sure they will deliver a quality education and satisfy your state's licensing criteria. What you should not do is enroll in a school just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be evaluated along with 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 DPT assisting female patient to walk

Physical therapists work in a variety of locations, including Holbrook AZ hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Head injuries
  • Heart attacks
  • Sports injuries
  • Burn injuries
  • Hip Replacement
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Multiple Sclerosis

Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Holbrook AZ medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also manage several physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degree Options

Holbrook Arizona DPT working with man in pool

There are 3 physical therapist degree options available for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is available that qualifies the graduate to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degrees that are offered to prospective students in the Holbrook AZ area:

  • Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically made available by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a component of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy education to ready students to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor's degrees, they generally require 4 years to finish and usually incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are required if you want to become a licensed practicing 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 complete, making the overall investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal component in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor 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 replaced the Master's of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer offered in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapist Online Colleges

Holbrook Arizona female student taking physical therapy classes onlineAlthough not as common as the on campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist degrees available, even more at the graduate level. Because of 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 in proximity of a sponsored 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 to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition can be somewhat less than similar on-campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges

At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning a few of your initial questions, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you intend 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 schools within the Holbrook AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll have to research other qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Moreover, you want to make sure that you choose the school that is right for you. That's the reason we have compiled a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited?  Find out if the schools you are considering have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously 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 choose an online program, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program's Ranking? Along with accreditation, it's important that the college and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can research a PT program's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact several Holbrook AZ physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your college 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 colleges.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? There are a two relevant statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the school'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 outstanding. It also confirms that the program has a large network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment after graduation.

Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the program you select provides both exceptional 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the physical therapist colleges you are assessing have relationships with Holbrook AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Holbrook health care community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are considering 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 an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapy program also.

Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Holbrook AZ home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Most DPT colleges provide some type of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department and see what kind of assistance is obtainable. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out 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 provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Holbrook AZ area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.

Learn More About Holbrook Online Physical Therapy Colleges

Choose the Right Holbrook Physical Therapy School

Deciding on the ideal physical therapist program is an important first decision you need to make to begin a fulfilling career in the health care field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you pick should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. But there are additional critical questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapist college keep in mind that numerous factors will lead you to your final decision. You may decide to visit each of the schools to see their facilities and speak to active 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 supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the ideal choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Holbrook Arizona.


 

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