How to Choose the Right Physical Therapy Course Near New Kingman Butler Arizona
Earning a physical therapist degree near New Kingman Butler AZ is an essential first step to launching a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated due to illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the appropriate training and education. A PT must also become licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it's important to research the ones you are considering to ensure they will supply a superior education and meet your state's licensing standards. What you do not want to do is choose a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be considered along with cost and location. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we'll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists work in varying locations, such as New Kingman Butler AZ private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries
- Heart attacks
- Sports injuries
- Burn injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other New Kingman Butler AZ health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapist degrees offered for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the one degree that is available that qualifies the graduate to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief summaries of degrees that are offered to prospective students in the New Kingman Butler AZ area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are most often offered by community or junior colleges, and require two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually part of the program.
- Bachelor's Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist education to ready candidates to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor's degrees, they generally require four years to complete and usually include 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 also must 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 complete, making the total investment of time seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an important element along with the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not just 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 available in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists having a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Schools Online
Although not as prevalent as the on-campus alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online part of the course of study can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's New Kingman Butler AZ home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat less than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding a few of your initial queries, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you intend to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the New Kingman Butler AZ area and across Arizona, you'll have to look into other qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college options. Also, you need to be sure that you enroll in the college that is ideal for you. That's the reason we have put together a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Find out if the schools you are looking at have received accreditation from a national or a regional 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 choose an online program, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure 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 might be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the College's Standing? Along with accreditation, it's imperative that the college and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT school's reputation, starting with asking for 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. Contact a few New Kingman Butler AZ physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest 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 filed against the colleges.
What is the Program's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapy programs you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the college's job placement program, particularly in the New Kingman Butler AZ area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also confirms that the college has a large network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the program you choose furnishes both exceptional 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 therapist school. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapy programs you are interested in have associations with New Kingman Butler AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional relationships in the New Kingman Butler healthcare community and assist with job placement once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapy program as well.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they select will need to be within commuting distance of their New Kingman Butler AZ residence. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep 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 might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? The majority of DPT schools supply some form of financial aid to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are considering have a financial aid department and see what type of aid is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. A number of physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapist school you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the New Kingman Butler AZ area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best New Kingman Butler Physical Therapist School
Selecting the best physical therapy school is an important initial decision you need to make to launch a rewarding career in the healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you enroll in should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are additional critical questions that you need to ask regarding your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapy program keep in mind that numerous variables will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You may want to visit each of the colleges to see their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the right choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in New Kingman Butler Arizona.