How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapy Course Near Kingman Arizona
Getting a physical therapy degree near Kingman AZ is a critical first step to launching a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled as a result of illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the proper training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it's necessary to investigate those you are thinking about to make certain they will furnish a superior education and comply with 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 cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be considered along with cost and location. But before we talk about 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 a variety of locations, such as Kingman AZ private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to address the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Fire injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Kingman AZ medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapy degree options available for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, 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. Below are short summaries of degrees that are offered to prospective students in the Kingman 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 a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are usually offered by community or junior colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training to prepare candidates to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor's degrees, they typically take 4 years to finish and often 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 3 years to finish, making the total commitment seven years in the majority of cases. 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 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 phased out and is no longer offered in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists having a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Colleges
Although not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees available, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the school campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Kingman AZ residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition might be significantly less than comparable on campus options, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
At this point you most likely have made a decision regarding some of your preliminary questions, like the kind of physical therapy degree you intend to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Kingman AZ area and across Arizona, you'll need to look into other qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of school choices. Also, you want to be sure that you select the program that is right for you. That's the reason we have put together a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Find out if the programs you are reviewing 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 college, 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 simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the School's Standing? Along with accreditation, it's important that the school and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT program's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call a few Kingman AZ physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your school options. It may also be prudent to contact 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 Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students left because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the assistance of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Kingman AZ area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also verifies that the school has a large network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the program you enroll in provides both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements 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 therapy program. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the physical therapy schools you are assessing have associations with Kingman AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Kingman health care community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program also.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Kingman AZ residence. Students who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble 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 usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT colleges supply some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance office and see what kind of assistance is available. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapy program you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Kingman AZ area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Best Kingman Physical Therapist School
Selecting the best physical therapy school is an important initial decision you must make to begin a fulfilling career in the healthcare profession. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you select should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. However there are other relevant questions that you should ask regarding your college of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapist college bear in mind that many variables will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You might decide to visit each of the schools to view their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me reach my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the proper education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Kingman Arizona.