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How to Pick the Right Physical Therapy Course Near Nogales Arizona

Nogales Arizona physical therapist working with woman holding balance ballEarning a physical therapy degree near Nogales AZ is an important first step to launching a rewarding career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled as a result of injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it's necessary to evaluate the ones you are looking at to make certain they will provide a quality education and satisfy your state's licensing criteria. What you should not do is enroll in a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be evaluated besides cost and location. But before we discuss 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 is a Physical Therapist's Job Description?

Nogales Arizona physical therapist helping woman to walk

Physical therapists work in a variety of settings, including Nogales AZ private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a course of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Head injuries
  • Heart attacks
  • Sports injuries
  • Fire injuries
  • Hip Replacement
  • Sciatica
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Nogales AZ health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degree Options

Nogales Arizona physical therapist working with man in pool

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

  • Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are most often offered by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. 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 therapist training to ready candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor's degrees, they normally take 4 years to finish and commonly incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are required 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 finish, making the total investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential component in addition to the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not just for graduation but in some states for licensing as well.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master's of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer attainable in the United States. A number of practicing physical therapists holding a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapy Online Degrees

Nogales Arizona woman taking physical therapy training onlineAlthough not as common as the more traditional alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the program may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Nogales AZ home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition might be significantly lower than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Programs

At this point you most likely have made a decision concerning several of your initial queries, like the type of physical therapist degree you would like to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Nogales AZ area and across Arizona, you'll need to research additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school options. Moreover, you want to be sure that you pick the college that is right for you. That's the reason we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited?  Ask if the schools you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As earlier 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 may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapist program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program's Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it's imperative that the school and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT college's reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call some Nogales AZ physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your school selections. It may also be prudent to contact the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.

What is the School's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapist programs you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Nogales AZ area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps excellent. It also confirms that the school has a wide network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the program you enroll in provides both superior training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are reviewing have relationships with Nogales AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Nogales healthcare community and assist with job placement after licensing.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are looking at 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 final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapy program also.

Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Nogales AZ residence. Students who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required 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 don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Support Offered? The majority of DPT schools offer some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Ask if the colleges you are considering have a financial assistance office and find out what type of help is offered. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. Some physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance may be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapist school you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Nogales AZ area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.

Find Out More About Nogales Online Physical Therapy Majors

Enroll in the Right Nogales Physical Therapy School

Picking the right physical therapist program is an important first decision you need to make to begin a rewarding career in the health care field. As we have addressed 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 need to ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapy college keep in mind that a number of variables will guide you to your ultimate decision. You may want to go to different colleges to view their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the ideal selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Nogales Arizona.


 

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