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How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapist Degree Program Near New Kingman Butler Arizona

New Kingman Butler Arizona physical therapist working with woman using exercise ballEarning a physical therapy degree near New Kingman Butler AZ is an essential first step to beginning a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled as a result of injury or illness gain back 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 additionally be licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it's necessary to research the ones you are looking at to make certain they will supply a superior education and comply with your state's licensing standards. What you should not do is enroll in a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be evaluated besides location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we'll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.

What Do Physical Therapists Do?

New Kingman Butler Arizona DPT assisting woman to walk

Physical therapists work in varying locations, including New Kingman Butler 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 stated, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Strokes
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Fire injuries
  • Knee Replacement
  • Sciatica
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other New Kingman Butler AZ health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degree Options

New Kingman Butler Arizona DPT working with patient in pool

There are 3 physical therapy degree options offered for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is offered that qualifies the graduate to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief explanations of degrees that are offered to prospective students in the New Kingman Butler AZ area:

  • Associate Degrees train 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 GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually made available by junior or community colleges, and require two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a component of the course of study.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy training to prep students to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor's degrees, they typically require four years to finish and commonly incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are a requirement if you want to become a practicing licensed physical therapist. The degree program must also be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). In addition to the bachelor's degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to finish, making the total commitment seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an important component in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in a number of 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 phased out and is no longer available in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapy Programs Online

New Kingman Butler Arizona female student taking physical therapist classes onlineAlthough not as common as the more traditional alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online portion of the program may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's New Kingman Butler AZ residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition can be significantly less than comparable on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may 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

By now you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding several of your preliminary queries, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the New Kingman Butler AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll need to look into additional qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of college options. Moreover, you want to make sure that you select the program that is best for you. That's why we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions before making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited?  Find out if the colleges you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously mentioned, 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 can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapist program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's essential that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can research a PT college's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Contact a few New Kingman Butler AZ physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your school options. It might also be a good idea to contact 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 significant statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean that students left due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the school's job placement program, particularly in the New Kingman Butler AZ area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or even outstanding. It also confirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment after graduation.

Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It's important that the program you select furnishes both superior training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are interested in have associations with New Kingman Butler AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to receive hands on experience 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 establish professional connections in the New Kingman Butler healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapy program as well.

Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their New Kingman Butler AZ residence. Those who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Support Provided? The majority of DPT schools provide some type of financial aid to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are considering have a financial aid office and find out what type of help is available. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance might be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapist college you finally select can offer 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 New Kingman Butler AZ area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.

Learn More About New Kingman Butler Physical Therapist Training

Enroll in the Best New Kingman Butler Physical Therapy School

Selecting the right physical therapy school is a necessary initial decision you must make to begin a gratifying career in the medical profession. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you select should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. However there are additional critical questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapist program bear in mind that numerous variables will lead you to your final decision. You might want to go to each of the colleges to view their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the right selection. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in New Kingman Butler Arizona.


 

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