How to Pick the Right Physical Therapist School near Maricopa Arizona
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Maricopa AZ is an important first step to beginning a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated due to injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the appropriate training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research the ones you are looking at to make sure they will provide a quality education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is choose a school just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be evaluated along with location and cost. 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 Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in varying locations, including Maricopa 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 people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they create a course of treatment to address the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries
- Cardiac arrest
- Sports injuries
- Burn injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Maricopa AZ health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Offered
There are 3 physical therapy degrees offered for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the one degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief explanations of degree levels that are available in the Maricopa AZ area:
- Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically 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 usually a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy training 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 preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally take 4 years to finish and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required if you want to become a licensed practicing 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 complete, making the overall investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal element in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not just 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 offered in the United States. A number of licensed 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 Colleges Online
While not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Maricopa AZ residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition might be somewhat less than similar on campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding a few of your initial questions, including the kind of physical therapist degree you want 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 Maricopa AZ area and across Arizona, you’ll need to research other qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of school choices. Also, you need to make certain that you pick the school that is right for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Ask if the schools you are reviewing have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As earlier stated, 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 can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Call a few Maricopa AZ physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your school selections. It may also be a good idea to contact the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two significant statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist colleges you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, 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 Maricopa AZ area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also affirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you select furnishes both superior training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is required 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 amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are assessing have associations with Maricopa AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Maricopa medical community and assist with job placement after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing what the typical 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 an opportunity to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Maricopa AZ residence. Individuals 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 might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically 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 Support Offered? Most DPT schools provide some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are examining have a financial assistance department and find out what type of assistance is offered. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapy college you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Maricopa AZ area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Maricopa Arizona?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Maricopa AZ area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Maricopa is a city in the Gila River Valley in Arizona. With an estimated 50,024 residents as of 2018, Maricopa is the second most populous incorporated city in Pinal County and eighteenth most populous in Arizona. Maricopa forms part of the Phoenix metropolitan area.
Maricopa has had three locations over the years: Maricopa Wells, Maricopaville and Maricopa Junction; the latter gradually became known as Maricopa. It started as an oasis around a series of watering holes eight miles north of present-day Maricopa, and about a mile west of Pima Butte. European-American traders and travelers called it Maricopa Wells. Several of Arizona’s rivers, the Gila, Santa Cruz, Vekol and Santa Rosa provided this oasis in the desert with an ample supply of water during this period of time.
During the late 1800s, Maricopa Wells was one of the most important relay stations along the San Antonio-San Diego Mail Line and the later more famous Butterfield Overland Mail Route. Although little remains of this once bustling community, it played an important part in the progress and development of the Southwest. It was one of the best-known spots in Arizona during this period of time because it had a reliable source of water, and offered an abundant supply of food. The peaceful Pima and Maricopa farmers who lived and farmed nearby sold supplies to travelers and migrants.
Education To Be A Physical Therapist Maricopa AZ
Picking the best physical therapist school is an important first decision you must make to begin a gratifying career in the healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you choose should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. However there are additional important questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice also. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Education To Be A Physical Therapist. However, as you begin your search for a physical therapy program bear in mind that a number of factors will guide you toward your final decision. You might want to go to different colleges to view their facilities and speak with current 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 supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the ideal choice. And with the proper education and training, you can accomplish your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Maricopa AZ.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Arizona
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