How to Choose the Right Physical Therapist Course near Haines Alaska
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Haines AK is an essential first step to launching a rewarding career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled as a result of illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the necessary education and training. A PT must also become licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to investigate those you are thinking about to make sure they will provide a quality education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is select a college just because it happens to be the closest to your home 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 discuss 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 Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in diverse settings, including Haines AK private practices, hospitals, 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 earlier touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they create a course of treatment to address the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Fire injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Haines AK health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also manage several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something 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 kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are three physical therapy degree options available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short summaries of degrees that are available in the Haines AK area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are most often made available by community colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically a portion of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to ready candidates to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they typically require four years to finish and commonly incorporate an internship program of at least 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 three years to complete, making the total commitment seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential element along with the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in a number of 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 available in the United States. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Degrees Online
Although not as common as the more traditional alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees available, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Haines AK residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition can be significantly lower than comparable on-campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
By now you probably have made a decision concerning a few of your initial queries, like the type of physical therapy degree you want to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are so many PT schools within the Haines AK area and across Alaska, you’ll have to explore additional qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Moreover, you need to be sure that you choose the school that is best for you. That’s why we have collected a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are thinking about. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions prior to making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Ask if the schools you are considering have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As earlier mentioned, 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 school, it may also obtain 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 just the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can investigate a PT program’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Call some Haines AK physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight 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 Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapist schools you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Haines AK area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even outstanding. It also verifies that the college has a broad network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you enroll in provides both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies 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 therapy program. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are interested in have associations with Haines AK hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Haines medical community and assist with job placement once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. 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 some 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 therapist college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Haines AK home. Those who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to keep 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 might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally 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 Provided? Most DPT colleges offer some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid department and find out what type of aid is available. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. Some physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapy college you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Haines AK area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Haines Alaska?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Haines AK area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Haines (Tlingit: Deishú) is a census-designated place located in Haines Borough, Alaska, United States. It is in the northern part of the Alaska Panhandle, near Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.
The area around present-day Haines was called Dtehshuh or "end of the trail" by the Chilkat group of Tlingit. It received this name because they could portage (carry) their canoes from the trail they used to trade with the interior, which began at the outlet of the Chilkat River, to Dtehshuh and save 20 miles (32 km) of rowing around the Chilkat Peninsula.
The first European, George Dickinson, an agent for the North West Trading Company, settled at Dtehshuh in 1879. In 1881, the Chilkat asked Sheldon Jackson to send missionaries to the area. Samuel Hall Young, a Presbyterian minister, was sent. Jackson built the Chilkat Mission and school at Dtehshuh in 1881, on land given to the church by the Chilkat. The Mission was renamed "Haines" in 1884 in honor of Francina E. Haines, the chairwoman of the committee that raised funds for its construction.
PTA To Bachelor Degree Programs Haines AK
Picking the ideal physical therapy school is a necessary first decision you have to make to launch a gratifying career in the medical profession. As we have addressed 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 other important questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice as well. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on PTA To Bachelor Degree Programs. However, as you begin your search for a physical therapy college keep in mind that many variables will guide you to your final decision. You may decide to visit different colleges to view their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me accomplish 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 field so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can achieve your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Haines AK.
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