How to Choose a Physical Therapist School near Sun City West 85375
Earning a physical therapy degree near Sun City West AZ is a critical first step to beginning a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated due to injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the proper training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate the ones you are looking at to make certain they will deliver a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is enroll in a school just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be evaluated in addition to location and cost. But before we cover 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 varying locations, including Sun City West AZ hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Sun City West AZ health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also manage several physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapist degrees offered for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the one degree that is attainable 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 progress to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degree levels that are available in the Sun City West AZ area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are typically made available by junior or community colleges, and take about two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally part of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy training to ready candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take four years to complete and commonly include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required 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). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to complete, making the overall investment of time 7 years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential element along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in a number of 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 phased out and is no longer available in the United States. A number of practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Schools
While not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy programs available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Sun City West AZ residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat lower than comparable on campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
By now you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning some of your initial questions, including the kind of physical therapy degree you want to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Sun City West AZ area and throughout Arizona, you’ll need to research additional qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of school choices. Moreover, you want to be sure that you select the school that is right for you. That’s why we have collected a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As previously stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you select an online program, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT college’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact some Sun City West AZ physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your school options. It might also be prudent to contact the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapy colleges you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students left because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Sun City West AZ area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even excellent. It also verifies that the college has a broad network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you choose furnishes both superior 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 needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. 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 Offered? Inquire if the physical therapy programs you are reviewing have relationships with Sun City West AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Sun City West health care community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist school they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Sun City West AZ home. Individuals who have opted 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 importance. One thing to keep 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 commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Most DPT schools supply some type of financial aid to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial assistance department and see what type of assistance is offered. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapy program you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Sun City West 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 courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Sun City West Arizona?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Sun City West AZ area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Sun City West, Arizona
As of the census of 2010, there were 24,535 people, 14,873 households, and 8,550 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 2,245.2 people per square mile (866.9/km²). There were 18,218 housing units at an average density of 1,666.8 per square mile (643.6/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 97.8% White, 0.8% Black or African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.2% from other races, and 0.5% from two or more races. 1.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 14,873 households out of which 14 had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.5% were married couples living together, 2.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.5% were non-families. 39.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 35.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.64 and the average family size was 2.05.
In the CDP, the population was spread out with 0.1% under the age of 14, 0.1% from 15 to 19, 0.1% from 15 to 24, 0.2% from 25 to 29, 0.2% from 30 to 34, 0.2% 35 to 39, 0.4% 45 to 49, 1.5% from 50 to 54, 3.6% 55 to 59, 9.2% from 60 to 64, 13.8% from 65 to 69, 17.2% from 70 to 74, 19.5% from 75 to 79, 18.3% from 80 to 84, and 14.8% who were 85 years of age or older. The median age was 75.6 years. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.6 males.
Pick the Best Physical Therapy Degree Program near Sun City West AZ
Deciding on the ideal physical therapy college is an important initial decision you need to make to launch a rewarding career in the healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you pick should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. However there are other important questions that you need to ask regarding your college of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapy school, keep in mind that many variables will guide you toward your final decision. You may want to go to different colleges to see their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me achieve my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can achieve your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Sun City West AZ.
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