How to Pick the Right Physical Therapist College near Galena Alaska
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Galena AK is an important first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated due to illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the necessary training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate those you are considering to make sure they will provide a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be evaluated along with cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists practice in varying settings, including Galena AK private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest
- Sports injuries
- Fire injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Galena AK health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather 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 Degrees Offered
There are three physical therapy degree options available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is available 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 short descriptions of degrees that are available in the Galena AK area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are usually offered by community colleges, and require two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually part of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy training to prepare candidates to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take 4 years to finish and often 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 also must 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 total investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal element along with the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not just 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 United States. A number of practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Online Schools
While not as prevalent as the on-campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Galena AK home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat lower than similar on-campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding a few of your preliminary questions, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you want to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Galena AK area and throughout Alaska, you’ll have to look into other qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of school options. Furthermore, you need to make certain that you select the program that is right for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions prior to making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As earlier stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you select an online school, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy school and program 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. Along with ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapy 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 may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact some Galena AK physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your program options. It may also be prudent to contact the Alaska Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of useful statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist programs you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Galena AK area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or even exceptional. It also affirms that the school has a wide network of contacts to help students get internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the school you select provides both excellent training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria for Alaska or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapy colleges you are assessing have partnerships with Galena AK clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional connections in the Galena medical community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering what the typical student to teacher 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 a chance to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Galena AK residence. Those who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT colleges supply some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are considering have a financial assistance office and find out what type of help is offered. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you might 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 therapy college you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Galena AK area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Galena Alaska?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Galena AK area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Galena (/ɡəˈliːnə/) (Notaalee Denh in Koyukon) is a city in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area in the U.S. state of Alaska. At the 2010 census the population was 470, with a 2016 estimate of 488 inhabitants. Galena was established in 1918, and a military airfield was built adjacent to the city during World War II. The city was incorporated in 1971.
The Koyukon Athabascans had seasonal camps in the area and moved as the wild game migrated. In the summer many families floated on rafts to the Yukon River to fish for salmon. There were 12 summer fish camps located on the Yukon River between the Koyukuk River and the Nowitna River. Galena was established in 1918 near an Athabascan fish camp called Henry's Point. It became a supply and point for nearby lead ore mines that opened in 1918 and 1919.
In 1941 and 1942, during World War II, a military air field was built adjacent to the civilian airport, and the two facilities shared the runway and flight line facilities. This air field was designated Galena Air Force Station shortly after the split of the United States Air Force from the United States Army, which occurred as a result of the National Security Act of 1947. During the 1950s, the construction of additional military facilities at Galena and the nearby Campion Air Force Station, in support of Galena's mission as a forward operating base under the auspices of the 5072nd Air Base Group, headquartered at Elmendorf Air Force Base, near Anchorage, provided improvements to the airport and the local infrastructure, causing economic growth for the area.
Physical Therapy Tech Schools Galena AK
Selecting the right physical therapy program is an important first decision you have to make to begin a fulfilling career in the health care profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you choose should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. However there are other important questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice as well. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Physical Therapy Tech Schools. However, as you start your search for a physical therapist program keep in mind that numerous factors will lead you to your final decision. You may decide to go to different schools to see their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the right choice. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Galena AK.
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