How to Find the Right Physical Therapy College near Apache Junction Arizona
Earning a physical therapist degree near Apache Junction AZ is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the proper education and training. A PT must also become licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to investigate the ones you are thinking about to make certain they will deliver a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated along with 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 the options for education.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists work in varying locations, including Apache Junction AZ hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to address the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also strive to stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring 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 work in close affiliation with other Apache Junction AZ medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Offered
There are 3 physical therapist degree options offered for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degrees that are offered in the Apache Junction AZ area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually made available by community or junior colleges, and require two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally part of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to prepare students to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they normally require four years to finish and often incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program also must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the total commitment 7 years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal component in addition to the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, 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 USA. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Online Programs
While not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online part of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Apache Junction AZ home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat less than comparable on campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
By now you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding a few of your initial queries, like the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Apache Junction AZ area and throughout Arizona, you’ll have to look into other qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of college choices. Also, you want to make sure that you select the school that is right for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Find out if the schools you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As previously 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 choose an online program, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can research a PT school’s reputation, starting 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. Get in touch with several Apache Junction AZ physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your school options. It might also be a good idea to check with the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students left because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Apache Junction AZ area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also verifies that the school has a broad network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the program you choose furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria for Arizona or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the physical therapy programs you are interested in have associations with Apache Junction AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Apache Junction medical community and help with job placement after licensing.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Apache Junction AZ residence. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? The majority of DPT colleges provide some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Ask if the schools you are considering have a financial aid department and see what type of help is obtainable. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist school you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Apache Junction AZ area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check 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 work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Apache Junction Arizona?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Apache Junction AZ area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Apache Junction, Arizona
Apache Junction is a city in Maricopa and Pinal counties in the state of Arizona. According to the 2018 U.S. Census estimates, the population of the city was 41,739, most of whom lived in Pinal County.
Apache Junction is located at an intersection on an unpaved stagecoach trail to the nearby Superstition Mountains. Apache Junction became a historical landmark and scenic byway that was opened to the public in 1922, and is currently part of a 120 mile long “circle trail” that begins and ends in Apache Junction.
The town is bounded by the Superstition Mountains (a federal wilderness area and home of the Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine) on the east, the Goldfield Mountains with the Bulldog Recreation Area on the north and the city of Mesa on the west. Goldfield Ghost Town, a tourist location preserved from former prospecting days, lies near the western face of Superstition Mountain just off Highway 88 (Apache Trail). It is located just southwest of the site of the ghost town of Goldfield, Arizona.
How Long Does It Take To Become Physical Therapist Apache Junction AZ
Deciding on the right physical therapy school is a necessary initial decision you must make to begin a gratifying career in the healthcare profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you choose should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are other critical questions that you need to ask regarding your college of choice also. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on How Long Does It Take To Become Physical Therapist. However, as you start your search for a physical therapy college bear in mind that a number of variables will lead you to your final decision. You might decide to go to different colleges to see their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me accomplish 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 appropriate choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Apache Junction AZ.
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