How to Pick a Physical Therapist School near Coolidge 85228
Getting a physical therapist degree near Coolidge AZ is an important first step to starting a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated due to injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the proper training and education. A PT must also become licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research the ones you are looking at to make certain they will deliver a quality education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is select a college just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be evaluated along with cost and location. 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 is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of locations, including Coolidge AZ private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a course of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Coolidge AZ health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone thinking about entering 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 Therapy Degrees Offered
There are 3 physical therapy degrees offered for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief descriptions of degrees that are available in the Coolidge 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. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are most often offered by junior or community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to prep students to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically require four years to finish and usually 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 3 years to complete, making the overall investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential component in addition to the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in a number of 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 available in the USA. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Degrees Online
While not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature 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 in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the curriculum can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Coolidge AZ residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat less than comparable on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning a few of your initial queries, such as the type of physical therapist degree you would like to obtain, 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 Coolidge AZ area and across Arizona, you’ll have to research additional qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of school choices. Also, you want to make certain that you pick the college that is ideal for you. That’s why we have put together a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions before making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Ask if the schools you are reviewing 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 select an online program, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with several Coolidge AZ physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your program selections. It might also be prudent to check with the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of useful statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapist programs you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest 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 help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Coolidge AZ area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also affirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the school you enroll in provides both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapist colleges you are evaluating have partnerships with Coolidge AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Coolidge healthcare community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Coolidge AZ home. Students who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? Most DPT colleges supply some form of financial support to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are considering have a financial assistance department and see what type of help is offered. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapist program you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Coolidge AZ area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Coolidge Arizona?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Coolidge AZ area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Coolidge is home of the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument. The monument was the first historic site to receive protected status by the United States Government in 1892. Coolidge is home to Central Arizona College.
Coolidge is located at 32°58′38″N 111°31′23″W / 32.97722°N 111.52306°W / 32.97722; -111.52306 (32.977105, -111.522933). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.0 square miles (13 km2), all of it land.
Arizona Highway 87 and Arizona Highway 287 pass through the town. Coolidge is 56 miles (90 km) southeast of Phoenix, and 69 miles (111 km) northwest of Tucson. It is 21 miles (34 km) northeast of Casa Grande and 11 miles southwest of Florence. Picacho Reservoir is just 11 miles (18 km) south of town.
Enroll in the Best Physical Therapy Degree Program near Coolidge AZ
Choosing the right physical therapist school is a necessary first decision you need to make to begin a rewarding career in the health care profession. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you choose should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. However there are other critical questions that you need to ask pertaining to your school of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapy school, bear in mind that a number of factors will lead you toward your final decision. You may decide to go to each of the schools to see their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me achieve my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Coolidge AZ.
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