How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapist Program near Soldotna Alaska
Obtaining a physical therapy degree near Soldotna AK is an important first step to launching a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the proper training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate those you are thinking about to make certain they will supply a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is choose a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be evaluated along with cost and location. But before we cover 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 practice in diverse settings, including Soldotna AK private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to address 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
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks
- Sports injuries
- Burn injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Soldotna AK health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are 3 physical therapy degree options available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degree levels that are available in the Soldotna AK area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically made available by community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically a portion of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to prepare candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically take 4 years to finish and commonly include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to finish, making the overall investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an important element in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not solely 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. 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 requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Schools
While not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online portion of the course of study can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Soldotna AK home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition might be significantly less than comparable on-campus options, and costs for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding a few of your preliminary queries, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Soldotna AK area and across Alaska, you’ll need to research additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college options. Furthermore, you want to be sure that you choose the program that is right for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential schools these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Find out if the schools you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional 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 select an online college, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist program and school you select are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact some Soldotna 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 advice about your school selections. It may also be prudent to contact the Alaska Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean that students left due to dissatisfaction 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 college’s job placement program, particularly in the Soldotna AK area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps excellent. It also affirms that the program has a large network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you choose provides both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing. In every 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 performed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapist colleges you are interested in have partnerships with Soldotna AK clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Soldotna healthcare community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges 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 ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy school they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Soldotna AK home. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern 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 decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? The majority of DPT schools supply some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and find out what type of help is available. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapy college you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Soldotna AK 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 carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Soldotna Alaska?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Soldotna AK area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Soldotna is a home rule city in the Kenai Peninsula Borough, in the U.S. state of Alaska. At the 2010 census the population was 4,163, up from 3,759 in 2000. It is the seat of the Kenai Peninsula Borough.
Soldotna is located in the Southcentral portion of Alaska on the central-western portion of the Kenai Peninsula. The city limits span 7 square miles along the Kenai River, which empties into the Cook Inlet in the nearby city of Kenai. The Kenai River was selected by CNN Travel as one of the "World's 15 Best Rivers for Travelers," due to its fishing and hunting opportunities. Soldotna is located on the western edge of the vast Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, a protected area spanning nearly 2 million acres and home to bears, moose, caribou, sheep, and many fish and bird species.
The city is located at the junction of the Sterling Highway and the Kenai Spur Highway, which has enabled Soldotna to develop as a service and retail hub for the Central Peninsula as well as for travelers between Anchorage and Homer. The Central Peninsula Hospital serves the medical needs of the region's residents and tourists. The Kenai Peninsula College, a branch of the University of Alaska Anchorage, operates the Kenai River Campus in Soldotna. Additionally, the headquarters of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, the Kenai Peninsula Borough, and the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District are located in the city.
Physical Therapy Assistant Degree Requirements Soldotna AK
Deciding on the ideal physical therapy college is an important first decision you need to make to launch a rewarding career in the health care field. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you pick should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are additional critical questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice as well. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Physical Therapy Assistant Degree Requirements. However, as you commence your search for a physical therapy program bear in mind that a number of factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might want to visit different colleges to view their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Soldotna AK.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Alaska
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