How to Choose the Right Physical Therapy School Near Nogales Arizona
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Nogales AZ is an essential first step to launching a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled due to injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the proper training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it's essential to evaluate those you are considering to ensure they will supply a quality education and satisfy your state's licensing standards. What you do not want to do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be considered besides location and cost. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we'll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in a variety of settings, including Nogales AZ private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also strive to prevent any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries
- Heart attacks
- Sports injuries
- Burn injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Nogales AZ health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to keep in mind 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 long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are three physical therapy degree options available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is available that qualifies the graduate to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short descriptions of degrees that are available to prospective students in the Nogales AZ area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically made available by community or junior colleges, and require 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually part of the program.
- Bachelor's Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy training to prep candidates to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor's degrees, they normally require four years to complete and commonly include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required 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 investment of time seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential element along with the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in a number of 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 available in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists having 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 Therapist Schools Online
While not as prevalent as the on-campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online segment of the curriculum can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Nogales AZ home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition can be significantly less than similar on-campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning a few of your preliminary questions, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you intend to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Nogales AZ area and throughout Arizona, you'll have to research additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of college options. Furthermore, you want to be sure that you choose the school that is ideal for you. That's the reason we have compiled a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges you are thinking about. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are looking at have earned 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 school, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapy school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College's Ranking? Along with accreditation, it's important that the college and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT college's reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with several Nogales AZ physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your college options. It may also be prudent to check with the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist colleges you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Nogales AZ area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also verifies that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the school you enroll in provides both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for Arizona or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are assessing have partnerships with Nogales AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to obtain practical experience 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 students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Nogales medical community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program also.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Nogales AZ residence. Those who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have 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 live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT schools offer some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have a financial aid office and find out what kind of aid is available. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. Some physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapy school you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Nogales AZ area, make certain that they are available. 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 enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Nogales Physical Therapist School
Choosing the best physical therapy college is an important initial decision you must make to start a rewarding career in the medical field. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you decide on should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are other relevant questions that you should ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapist school bear in mind that a number of variables will lead you toward your final decision. You may want to go to each of the schools to view their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me achieve 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 best selection. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Nogales Arizona.