How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapist College near Littlefield Arizona
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Littlefield AZ is an essential first step to starting a rewarding career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated due to injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the appropriate training and education. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s important to research the ones you are looking at to make certain they will furnish a superior education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is select a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated along with location and cost. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of settings, such as Littlefield AZ private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries
- Heart attacks
- Sports injuries
- Burn injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Littlefield AZ medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degree Options
There are three physical therapy degrees offered for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief summaries of degrees that are offered in the Littlefield AZ area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often provided by community colleges, and take about two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training to ready candidates to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take 4 years to finish and commonly incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required if you want to become a practicing licensed 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 complete, making the total commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an important element in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in some 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 phased out and is no longer offered in the USA. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Colleges
Although not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs available, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the curriculum can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Littlefield AZ residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat less than similar on campus options, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
By now you most likely have come to decision regarding a few of your preliminary queries, such as the type of physical therapy degree you want to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are so many PT schools within the Littlefield AZ area and throughout Arizona, you’ll need to explore other qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of college options. Also, you want to make sure that you pick the school that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As previously 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 enroll in an online college, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy school and program you select are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist community. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call several Littlefield AZ physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your college selections. It might also be a good idea to check with the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapist programs you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students dropped out because of displeasure 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 college’s job placement program, particularly in the Littlefield AZ area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also affirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to help students obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the program you enroll in furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the physical therapy programs you are interested in have relationships with Littlefield AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Littlefield medical community and help 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 class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Littlefield AZ home. Those who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? Most DPT schools provide some form of financial support to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are considering have a financial assistance department and find out what kind of assistance is offered. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapist college you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Littlefield AZ area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Littlefield Arizona?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Littlefield AZ area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Littlefield is an unincorporated community and census-designated place in Mohave County located in the Arizona Strip region of the U.S. state of Arizona. As of the 2010 census, its population was 308. It lies along Interstate 15 approximately 10 miles northeast of Mesquite, Nevada. Littlefield is located in the 86432 zip code.
Littlefield and neighboring Beaver Dam have the distinction of being the only towns in Arizona along I-15. Owing to its location in the Arizona Strip, northwest of Grand Canyon National Park and west of the Virgin River, it is isolated by hundreds of miles from the rest of the state. Travel to other towns within Arizona requires crossing through either Nevada or Utah, or routing through unpaved roads to the rest of Arizona's road network.
Sports Physical Therapy Colleges Littlefield AZ
Selecting the best physical therapist college is an important first decision you must make to launch a rewarding career in the medical field. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you select should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are additional critical 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 Sports Physical Therapy Colleges. However, as you begin your search for a physical therapist school keep in mind that many factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might decide to go to different colleges to view their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me reach my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the best choice. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Littlefield AZ.
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