How to Pick the Right Physical Therapist College near Dillingham Alaska
Earning a physical therapist degree near Dillingham AK is an essential first step to starting a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated due to illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the appropriate training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to investigate those you are considering to make certain they will supply a quality education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important 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 what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists practice in varying settings, including Dillingham 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 the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they create a course of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Burn injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Dillingham AK medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy profession, it is rather 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 Available
There are 3 physical therapy degree options offered for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short descriptions of degree levels that are available in the Dillingham AK area:
- Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically made available by community or junior colleges, and require two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy training to ready candidates to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically require 4 years to complete 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to finish, making the overall commitment seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential component along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in some states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer offered in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Programs Online
While not as prevalent as the more traditional alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online segment of the curriculum can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Dillingham AK home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition can be significantly lower than comparable on-campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
By now you most likely have made a decision concerning a few of your preliminary questions, such as 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 Dillingham AK area and across Alaska, you’ll have to research other qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college choices. Also, you need to make sure that you pick the school that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national 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 enroll in an online program, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can research a PT school’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Get in touch with a few Dillingham AK physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your school selections. It might also be a good idea to check with 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 two important statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean that students left due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Dillingham AK area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or even exceptional. It also verifies that the college has a broad network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the program you enroll in provides both excellent training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for Alaska 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 school. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapy schools you are evaluating have relationships with Dillingham AK hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Dillingham health care community and assist with job placement once licensed.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools 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 final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Dillingham AK home. Students who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally 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 colleges offer some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department and see what kind of help is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. Some physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapist program you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Dillingham AK area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Dillingham Alaska?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Dillingham AK area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Dillingham /ˈdɪlɪŋhæm/ (Curyuk in Central Alaskan Yup'ik), also known as Curyung and (for the southwestern section) Kanakanak, is a city in Dillingham Census Area, Alaska, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 2,329, down from 2,466 in 2000.
Dillingham is on Nushagak Bay at the mouth of the Nushagak River, an inlet of Bristol Bay, an arm of the Bering Sea in the North Pacific, in southwestern Alaska. It is located at 59°02′48″N 158°30′31″W / 59.04667°N 158.50861°W / 59.04667; -158.50861 (59.046751, -158.508665).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 36.3 square miles (94.1 km2). 33.6 square miles (86.9 km2) of it is land, and 2.8 square miles (7.2 km2) of it (7.64%) is water. This may change as the City of Dillingham will likely petition the State of Alaska to increase the size of its boundaries to include most of Nushagak Bay and Wood River, to gain revenue from the Nushagak District and Wood River Special Harvest Area commercial salmon fisheries.
Physical Therapy Classes Online Dillingham AK
Picking the ideal physical therapist program is a necessary initial decision you must make to launch a gratifying career in the health care profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you enroll in should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are additional relevant 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 Therapy Classes Online. However, as you commence your search for a physical therapy college bear in mind that a number of factors will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You may decide to visit different campuses to see their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing 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 choice. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Dillingham AK.
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