How to Pick the Right Physical Therapy Course near Central Arizona
Earning a physical therapy degree near Central AZ is a critical first step to starting a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated as a result of injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the proper training and education. A PT must also become licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate the ones you are thinking about to make sure they will provide a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is enroll in a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be considered besides cost and location. But before we cover 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 practice in diverse settings, such as Central AZ hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, 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 deal with the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest
- Sports injuries
- Burn injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Central AZ medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
There are 3 physical therapist degree options available for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degree levels that are available in the Central AZ area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are usually made available by community or junior colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy training to prepare students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally require 4 years to complete and usually incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated 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 three years to finish, making the total investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an essential element along with the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not just for graduation but in several 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 USA. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Programs Online
While not as common as the more traditional options, there are some accredited online physical therapy programs available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the school campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online part of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Central AZ residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat lower than comparable on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
By now you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning a few of your initial queries, including the type of physical therapist degree you intend to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the Central AZ area and throughout Arizona, you’ll have to research other qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of college options. Also, you want to be sure that you pick the college that is ideal for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are considering. Ask all of the potential schools these questions before making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are looking at have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As previously stated, 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 can 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 from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Contact some Central AZ physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your program selections. It may also be prudent 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 School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Central AZ area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps excellent. It also confirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the school 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 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 therapy school. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapy schools you are assessing have relationships with Central AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to get practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional connections in the Central medical community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Central AZ home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT colleges supply some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department and find out what kind of aid 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 beyond your budget, ask what financial aid may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapy school you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Central AZ area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Central Arizona?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Central AZ area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Central is at 32°52′13″N 109°47′35″W / 32.87028°N 109.79306°W / 32.87028; -109.79306, at an elevation of approximately 2900 feet above sea level. From this location just south of the Gila River within the Upper Gila Valley, Mount Graham of the Pinaleño (Pinaleno Mountains) range dominates the southern skyline.
Central was first homesteaded by the Cluff family in 1880. The Cluffs extended the Central Canal to their lands on the eastern side of Central. Later settlers extended the canal west and north. In 1883 construction began on a one-room white rock building to be used as a church meeting house and school house. By 1884 twenty families, including Cluff, Norton, Shurtz, Bigler, and Webster households resided in Central. In 1978 the streets were named after these early Mormon pioneers. In December 1883 the Central Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was organized and Joseph Cluff was ordained the first bishop. A new red brick church was built in 1885. It was the first regular meeting house built in this part of Arizona and was also the first home of the LDS Academy from December 1890 to May 1891. A plaque east of Hwy 70 on Central Road commemorates the original home of the St. Joseph Stake Academy that later moved to Thatcher and became Eastern Arizona College.
In 1894, LDS Church historian Andrew Jensen reported on the Central Ward: "Thirty-five families or 178 souls, constitute the Mormon population, and there are only two other families in the district. Central excels in point of large orchards, extensive alfalfa fields and good grain. The meeting house is the only public building in the settlement, in which there is also a small store and a post office. There are a number of fine and comfortable private residences, built mostly of brick and adobe."
Physical Therapist Assistant Online Degree Central AZ
Choosing the ideal physical therapist program is an important initial decision you must make to launch a fulfilling career in the medical field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you pick should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are other important questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Physical Therapist Assistant Online Degree. However, as you begin your search for a physical therapist college keep in mind that a number of factors will guide you to your ultimate decision. You might want to go to each of the colleges to see their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me realize 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 ideal selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Central AZ.
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