How to Pick the Right Physical Therapy College near Eagle River Alaska
Earning a physical therapist degree near Eagle River AK is an essential first step to beginning a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the appropriate training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to investigate those you are thinking about to make certain they will furnish a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is select a school just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated in addition to 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 the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists work in varying settings, including Eagle River AK private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a course of treatment to address the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also strive to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries
- Cardiac arrest
- Sports injuries
- Burn injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Eagle River AK health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are three physical therapist degrees available for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the one degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degrees that are available in the Eagle River AK area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often offered by community colleges, and require two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to prepare candidates to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take 4 years to finish and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 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 3 years to finish, making the total investment of time 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an essential element along with the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in several 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 offered 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 mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Programs
While not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapy degrees available, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online part of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Eagle River AK residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition may be significantly less than similar on-campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number 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 dedicated enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding several of your preliminary queries, including the type of physical therapist degree you want to attain, 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 Eagle River AK area and across Alaska, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school options. Furthermore, you want to make certain that you select the college that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As earlier 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 choose an online college, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can research a PT college’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with a few Eagle River AK physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your school selections. It may also be prudent to contact the Alaska Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist colleges you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Eagle River AK area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or even outstanding. It also confirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students get internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you enroll in provides both exceptional training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the physical therapy colleges you are evaluating have associations with Eagle River AK hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional relationships in the Eagle River healthcare community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapist school they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Eagle River AK residence. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to keep 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 might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Support Provided? Most DPT schools supply some type of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are considering have a financial assistance department and see what kind of assistance is available. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. Some physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapy college you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Eagle River AK area, verify that they are available. 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 enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Eagle River Alaska?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Eagle River AK area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Eagle River, Anchorage
Eagle River is a community within the Municipality of Anchorage situated on the Eagle River, for which it is named, between Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and Chugach State Park in the Chugach Mountains. Its ZIP code is 99577. Settled by homesteaders, Eagle River has been annexed to the Municipality of Anchorage since the 1970s--a relationship that is, at times, complicated. On the one hand, Eagle River functions as an Anchorage suburb, with a number of Eagle River residents working in, shopping or participating in community life in the Anchorage bowl. Much of the community is also made up of residents from nearby Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. On the other hand, the community is itself a significant business hub between Wasilla and Anchorage, offering shopping, restaurants, recreation and employment. Secession efforts have from time to time gained traction by residents who would like Eagle River legally regarded as a separate community. Eagle River also has a close relationship with its neighboring community to the north, Chugiak, with which it shares some history. If Eagle River were not part of the Municipality of Anchorage, it would be classified as one of the five largest cities in Alaska.
The Eagle River (and Chugiak) area was settled by homesteaders and prospered on agricultural activities. The name Eagle River was first reported in 1939 by the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Eagle River post office was established in 1961.
In 1964, the state legislature first divided the state into seven boroughs. Over the next decade, many area residents objected to the Chugiak-Eagle River area being lumped in as part of a Greater Anchorage-Area Borough. The Chugiak-Eagle River Borough was established in 1974, only to be dissolved shortly thereafter when the arrangement was ruled unconstitutional by the Alaska Supreme Court.
Classes Required For Physical Therapy Eagle River AK
Selecting the right physical therapy program is a necessary first decision you have 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 outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are other important questions that you need to ask regarding your college of choice as well. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Classes Required For Physical Therapy. However, as you begin your search for a physical therapy college bear in mind that numerous factors will guide you to your ultimate decision. You may want to visit each of the campuses to see their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school 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 choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Eagle River AK.
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