How to Select the Right Physical Therapist College near Unalaska Alaska
Obtaining a physical therapy degree near Unalaska AK is an important first step to starting a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated as a result of injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the proper education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research those you are considering to make sure they will provide a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is enroll in a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be considered in addition to location and cost. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists work in a variety of locations, including Unalaska AK hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries
- Cardiac arrest
- Sports injuries
- Fire injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Unalaska AK medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are three physical therapy degrees offered for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short descriptions of degrees that are available in the Unalaska AK area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically offered by community or junior colleges, and require 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally part of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to ready students to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take four years to complete and often incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required if you want 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 three years to complete, making the total investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal element along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in a number of states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer available in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Schools
While not as prevalent as the more traditional options, there are many accredited online physical therapist programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online segment of the curriculum can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Unalaska AK residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition may be somewhat lower than similar on campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
By now you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning several of your initial questions, including the kind of physical therapy degree you want to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Unalaska AK area and throughout Alaska, you’ll need to research additional qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of school choices. Also, you need to be sure that you pick the program that is best for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. 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 school, it may also receive 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 simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can research a PT school’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Get in touch with a few Unalaska AK physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your program selections. It might also be a good idea to contact the Alaska Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of important statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapist programs you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Unalaska AK area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even outstanding. It also confirms that the college has a broad network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the college you enroll in furnishes both superior training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria for Alaska 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 therapist program. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the physical therapy schools you are assessing have associations with Unalaska AK hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help graduates and students develop professional connections in the Unalaska healthcare community and help with job placement after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy school they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Unalaska AK residence. 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. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? The majority of DPT colleges provide some form of financial support to their prospective students. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance office and see what kind of help is offered. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapy college you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Unalaska AK area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Unalaska Alaska?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Unalaska AK area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Unalaska (Aleut: Iluulux̂) is the chief center of population in the Aleutian Islands. The city is in the Aleutians West Census Area, a regional component of the Unorganized Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. Unalaska is located on Unalaska Island and neighboring Amaknak Island in the Aleutian Islands off mainland Alaska. The population was 4,376 at the 2010 census, which is 79% of the entire Aleutians West Census Area. Unalaska is the second largest city in the Unorganized Borough, behind Bethel.
The Aleut or Unangan people have lived on Unalaska Island for thousands of years. The Unangan, who were the first to inhabit the island of Unalaska, named it "Ounalashka", meaning "near the peninsula". The regional native corporation has adopted this moniker, and is known as the Ounalashka Corporation. The Russian fur trade reached Unalaska when Stepan Glotov and his crew arrived on August 1, 1759. Natives, Russians and their descendants comprised most of the community's population until the mid-20th century, when the involvement of the United States in World War II led to a large-scale influx of people and construction of buildings all along the strategically located Aleutians.
Almost all of the community's port facilities are on Amaknak Island, better known as Dutch Harbor or just "Dutch". It is the largest fisheries port in the U.S. by volume caught. It includes Dutch Harbor Naval Operating Base and Fort Mears, U.S. Army, a U.S. National Historic Landmark. Dutch Harbor lies within the city limits of Unalaska and is connected to Unalaska by a bridge. Amaknak Island is home to almost 59 percent of the city's population, although it has less than 3 percent of its land area.
How Many Years To Become Physical Therapist Unalaska AK
Picking the right physical therapist program is a necessary initial decision you have to make to launch a gratifying career in the medical profession. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you select should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However 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 Many Years To Become Physical Therapist. However, as you begin your search for a physical therapy school bear in mind that many variables will lead you to your ultimate decision. You may want to go to each of the schools to see their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me accomplish 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 ideal selection. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Unalaska AK.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Alaska