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How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapy Training Program Near Lake Montezuma Arizona

Lake Montezuma Arizona physical therapist working with woman holding balance ballGetting a physical therapist degree near Lake Montezuma AZ is a critical first step to beginning a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated due to injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the appropriate education and training. A PT must also become licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it's essential to evaluate those you are considering to ensure they will furnish a superior education and meet 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 lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be evaluated in addition to cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we'll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.

What is a Physical Therapist's Job Description?

Lake Montezuma Arizona DPT assisting female patient to walk

Physical therapists work in varying settings, including Lake Montezuma AZ private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a program of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Head injuries
  • Heart attacks
  • Sports injuries
  • Fire injuries
  • Knee Replacement
  • Sciatica
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Lake Montezuma AZ medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone thinking about getting 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 prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees Offered

Lake Montezuma Arizona physical therapist working with man in pool

There are 3 physical therapy degree options available for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the one degree that is available that qualifies the graduate to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief explanations of degree levels that are offered to prospective students in the Lake Montezuma AZ area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are typically 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 a portion of the course of study.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy education to ready students to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor's degrees, they normally require four years to finish and usually incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are a requirement in order to become a practicing licensed 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 total investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal element along with the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in some states for licensing as well.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has taken the place of the Master's of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer attainable in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapist Online Programs

Lake Montezuma Arizona woman taking physical therapist classes onlineAlthough not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees 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 near the school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Lake Montezuma AZ residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition can be somewhat less than comparable on campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Schools

By now you most likely have come to decision concerning several of your preliminary questions, like the type of physical therapy degree you intend to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the Lake Montezuma AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll have to research other qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of school options. Furthermore, you need to be sure that you enroll in the college that is best 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 schools these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited?  Ask if the schools you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As earlier 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 select an online program, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapist school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Also, verify 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 may be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program's Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it's essential that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can research a PT program's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Call some Lake Montezuma AZ physical therapy 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 college selections. 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 Rate? There are a couple of useful statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist programs you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the help of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Lake Montezuma AZ area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps excellent. It also affirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment after graduation.

Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's important that the college you choose furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that supports 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are interested in have relationships with Lake Montezuma AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Lake Montezuma health care community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapy program as well.

Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Lake Montezuma AZ home. Students who have opted 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 importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Most DPT schools supply some type of financial aid to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are looking at have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of help is available. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. Some physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance may be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapist college you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Lake Montezuma AZ area, make certain that they are offered. 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 carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.

Learn More About Lake Montezuma Online Physical Therapist Courses

Enroll in the Best Lake Montezuma Physical Therapy School

Selecting the ideal physical therapy program is a necessary initial decision you must make to launch a fulfilling career in the health care profession. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you pick should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are other critical questions that you need to ask regarding your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapist program bear in mind that a number of factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might want to go to each of the campuses to view their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me realize my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the right choice. And with the proper education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Lake Montezuma Arizona.


 

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