How to Choose the Right Physical Therapist Training Program Near Kingman Arizona
Getting a physical therapy degree near Kingman AZ is an essential first step to launching a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated as a result of illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the appropriate training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it's essential to investigate those you are thinking about to make certain they will deliver a superior education and satisfy your state's licensing requirements. What you should not do is choose a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be considered in addition to location and cost. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we'll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist's Job Description?
Physical therapists work in a variety of settings, such as Kingman AZ private practices, hospitals, 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 touched on, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to address the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor 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
- Cardiac arrest
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Fire injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Kingman AZ medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy field, 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 Therapy Degree Options
There are three physical therapy degrees available for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is available that qualifies the graduate to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are brief descriptions of degree levels that are offered to prospective students in the Kingman AZ area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are most often offered by community colleges, and take about two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to ready candidates to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor's degrees, they normally require 4 years to complete and often incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated 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). After earning the bachelor's degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to finish, making the overall investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential component in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not solely 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 attainable in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Programs Online
While not as common as the more traditional options, there are many accredited online physical therapy programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined 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 comfort and convenience of the student's Kingman AZ residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition can be significantly lower than comparable on campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
By now you probably have made a decision concerning several of your preliminary questions, including the type of physical therapist degree you intend to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Kingman AZ area and across Arizona, you'll need to explore additional qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college options. Also, you want to make sure that you pick the program that is right for you. That's why we have compiled a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapy colleges you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Find out if the programs you are reviewing have received accreditation from a national or a regional 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 school, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not just the school. Also, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College's Reputation? Along with accreditation, it's essential that the college and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT school's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Call some Kingman AZ physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insight 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 schools.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? There are a two useful statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist programs you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Kingman 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 even excellent. It also verifies that the college has a wide network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the program you select provides both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapy schools you are interested in have relationships with Kingman AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to obtain hands on 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 help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Kingman medical community and help with job placement once licensed.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher 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 talk with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Kingman AZ home. Students who have chosen to attend classes online naturally 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 bear in mind is that if you decide 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 usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? The majority of DPT colleges offer some type of financial aid to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are considering have a financial assistance department and see what kind of help is available. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapist program you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Kingman AZ area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Kingman Physical Therapy School
Deciding on the right physical therapist college is an important initial decision you have to make to begin a rewarding career in the health care profession. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you enroll in should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are other relevant questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist program bear in mind that numerous factors will guide you to your final decision. You may decide to go to different colleges to see their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed practicing 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 right selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Kingman Arizona.