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How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapy College Near New Kingman Butler Arizona

New Kingman Butler Arizona physical therapist working with woman using exercise ballEarning a physical therapist degree near New Kingman Butler AZ is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated due to injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the necessary education and training. A PT must also become licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it's important to investigate the ones you are considering to make sure they will furnish a quality education and comply with your state's licensing requirements. What you should not do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be considered besides cost and location. But before we talk about 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 Does a Physical Therapist Do?

New Kingman Butler Arizona DPT helping woman to walk

Physical therapists practice in varying locations, including New Kingman Butler AZ hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Head injuries
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Sports injuries
  • Burn injuries
  • Knee Replacement
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other New Kingman Butler AZ health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees Offered

New Kingman Butler Arizona DPT working with man in pool

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

  • Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as 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 qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often provided by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a component of the course of study.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist training to prepare students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor's degrees, they generally require four years to finish and commonly include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want to become a practicing licensed physical therapist. The degree program also must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). After earning the bachelor's degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the overall commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential element along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in several states for licensing also.

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. A number of licensed 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 Therapy Schools Online

New Kingman Butler Arizona female student taking physical therapist training onlineAlthough not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees available, even more at the graduate level. Due to 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 college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the curriculum can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's New Kingman Butler AZ home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat less than comparable on campus options, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.

What to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges

By now you most likely have come to decision regarding a few of your preliminary questions, including the kind of physical therapist degree you want to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the New Kingman Butler AZ area and across Arizona, you'll need to explore additional qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of school choices. Also, you need to make certain that you choose the program that is right for you. That's why we have collected a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are considering. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited?  Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As previously 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 enroll in an online program, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check 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 School's Reputation? Along with accreditation, it's important that the college and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT program's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with some New Kingman Butler AZ physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your college options. It might also be prudent to check with the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the college'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 community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also verifies that the school has a broad network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the school you choose provides both exceptional training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria 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 therapist program. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapist programs you are reviewing have associations with New Kingman Butler AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the New Kingman Butler medical community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program as well.

Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their New Kingman Butler AZ home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online obviously 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 keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Support Provided? The majority of DPT colleges supply some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial assistance department and find out what type of aid is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance may be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapy college you ultimately pick can furnish 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 New Kingman Butler AZ area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.

Find Out More About New Kingman Butler Online Physical Therapist Programs

Enroll in the Best New Kingman Butler Physical Therapy School

Picking the ideal physical therapist school is an important first decision you have to make to start a gratifying career in the medical field. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you choose should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are other important questions that you should ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapy college keep in mind that a number of variables will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might want to go to different schools to view their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the ideal choice. And with the proper training and education, you can achieve your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in New Kingman Butler Arizona.


 

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