Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – Apache Junction AZ

How to Enroll In a Physical Therapy College near Apache Junction 85217

Apache Junction AZ physical therapy school student with volunteerObtaining a physical therapist degree near Apache Junction AZ is an essential first step to starting a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled as a result of illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the proper training and education. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s important to investigate those you are thinking about to make sure they will supply a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is select a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be considered besides location and cost. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.

What Do Physical Therapists Do?

Apache Junction AZ physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists work in diverse locations, including Apache Junction AZ private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, 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 resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Strokes.
  • Heart attacks.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
  • Burn injuries.
  • Hip Replacement.
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Cerebral Palsy.

Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Apache Junction AZ health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee several 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 entering the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees Available

Apache Junction AZ physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are 3 physical therapy degrees offered for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the one degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degree levels that are available in the Apache Junction AZ area:

  • Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are most often provided by community or junior colleges, and require 2 years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a portion of the program.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy education to prepare candidates to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take four years to complete and commonly incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are mandated 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 three years to complete, making the overall commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an important component in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not just for graduation but in several states for licensing as well.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has taken the place of the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer offered in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapist Online Colleges

woman attending physical therapy school online in Apache Junction AZWhile not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, more so 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 near the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Apache Junction AZ residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition can be somewhat lower than similar on-campus options, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.

What to Ask Physical Therapy Programs

By now you most likely have made a decision concerning several of your initial questions, like the type of physical therapy degree you would like to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Apache Junction AZ area and throughout Arizona, you’ll need to research other qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college choices. Moreover, you want to make sure that you select the school that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited?  Ask if the programs you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online school, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the School’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are a number of ways you can research 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 organizations for their reviews also. Call some Apache Junction AZ physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your college options. It may also be prudent to contact the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two relevant statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapy schools you are considering. First 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, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Apache Junction AZ area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even exceptional. It also verifies that the college has a large network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you choose provides both superior training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements for Arizona 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 college. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the physical therapy schools you are reviewing have relationships with Apache Junction AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Apache Junction healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.

Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Apache Junction AZ residence. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Help Provided? Most DPT schools supply some type of financial aid to their prospective students. Ask if the colleges you are considering have a financial aid office and see what kind of assistance is available. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance might be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist school you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Apache Junction AZ area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Apache Junction Arizona?

If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Apache Junction AZ area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.

Apache Junction, Arizona

Apache Junction is a city in Maricopa and Pinal counties in the state of Arizona. According to the 2017 U.S. Census estimates, the population of the city was 40,358,[2] most of whom lived in Pinal County.

The town is bounded by the Superstition Mountains (a federal wilderness area and home of the Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine) on the east, the Goldfield Mountains with the Bulldog Recreation Area on the north and the city of Mesa on the west. Goldfield Ghost Town, a tourist location preserved from former prospecting days, lies near the western face of Superstition Mountain just off Highway 88 (Apache Trail). It is located just southwest of the site of the ghost town of Goldfield, Arizona.[5]

As of the census of 2010, there were 35,840 people, 15,574 households, and 9,372 families residing in the city. The population density was 929.3 people per square mile (358.9/km²). There were 22,771 housing units at an average density of 665.1 per square mile (256.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 89.5% White, 1.2% Black or African American, 1.1% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 4.9% from other races, and 2.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 14.4% of the population.

Choose the Best Physical Therapy College near Apache Junction AZ

Choosing the right physical therapist school is a necessary first decision you must make to start a rewarding career in the health care field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you decide on should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. But there are other important questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist school, bear in mind that a number of factors will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You might decide to visit each of the schools to view their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the best selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can achieve your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Apache Junction AZ.

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