How to Pick the Right Physical Therapy Training Program near Sitka Alaska
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Sitka AK is an essential first step to beginning a rewarding career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated 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 must get 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 school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to investigate the ones you are thinking about to make sure they will supply a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is select a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be considered besides cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists work in diverse settings, including Sitka AK hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries
- Cardiac arrest
- Sports injuries
- Fire injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Sitka AK medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with 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 routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are three physical therapist degrees offered for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degrees that are available in the Sitka AK area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are most often made available by junior or community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to prep candidates to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they generally take 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 must also be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to complete, making the overall commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential component in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in several states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer offered in the USA. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Programs
Although not as prevalent as the more traditional options, there are many accredited online physical therapist programs available, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the program may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Sitka AK residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition may be significantly less than comparable on-campus options, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
At this point you probably have come to decision regarding several of your initial questions, including the kind of physical therapist degree you want to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the Sitka AK area and across Alaska, you’ll have to research other qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of school choices. Also, you want to be sure that you pick the program that is best for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Find out if the programs you are looking at have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. 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 enroll in an online college, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT program’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Call some Sitka AK physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your program options. It may also be prudent to check with the Alaska Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapy colleges you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Sitka AK area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests 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 help students gain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you select furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapist schools you are evaluating have associations with Sitka AK clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional connections in the Sitka health care community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are considering 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 decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Sitka AK home. Those who have decided to attend classes online naturally 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 keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school 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 normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? The majority of DPT colleges provide some type of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial aid department and find out what type of help is offered. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapist school you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Sitka AK area, make sure 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 need to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Sitka Alaska?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Sitka AK area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
The City and Borough of Sitka (Tlingit: Sheetʼká, Russian: Ситка), formerly Novo-Arkhangelsk (or New Archangel) under Russian rule (Russian: Ново-Архангельск or Новоaрхангельск, t Novoarkhangelsk), is a unified city-borough in the southeast portion of the U.S. state of Alaska. The city is situated on the west side of Baranof Island and the south half of Chichagof Island in the Alexander Archipelago of the Pacific Ocean (part of the Alaska Panhandle). As of the 2010 census, Sitka had a population of 8,881.
With a consolidated land area of 2,870.3 square miles (7,434 square kilometres) and total area (including water) of 4,811.4 square miles (12,461 square kilometres), Sitka is the largest city-borough in the U.S.
The current name Sitka (derived from Sheet’ká, a contraction of the Tlingit Shee At'iká) means "People on the Outside of Baranof Island," whose Tlingit name is Sheet’-ká X'áat'l (here contracted to Shee).
Doctorate Degree In Physical Therapy Sitka AK
Deciding on the right physical therapist college is an important initial decision you need to make to launch a rewarding career in the healthcare profession. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you select should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. However there are additional relevant questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice also. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Doctorate Degree In Physical Therapy. However, as you commence your search for a physical therapy school bear in mind that a number of variables will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You might want to visit different schools to see their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me achieve my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the right selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can achieve your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Sitka AK.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Alaska