How to Pick a Physical Therapist Degree Program near Tolleson 85353
Getting a physical therapy degree near Tolleson AZ is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated as a result of injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the necessary education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to research those you are looking at to ensure they will deliver a superior education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is select a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated in addition to cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in varying settings, such as Tolleson AZ hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. 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 patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Tolleson AZ health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are 3 physical therapist degree options available for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degrees that are available in the Tolleson AZ area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually offered by community or junior colleges, and take about two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy education 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 most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take 4 years to finish and often include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated in order to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program must also be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the total commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal component in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Therefor 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 taken the place of the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer attainable in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Colleges
Although not as common as the on campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the program may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Tolleson AZ home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition can be significantly less than similar on campus options, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
At this point you probably have made a decision regarding several of your initial queries, like the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Tolleson AZ area and throughout Arizona, you’ll have to research other qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college options. Furthermore, you want to make sure that you select the program that is best for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are considering. Ask all of the competing schools these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. 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 enroll in an online school, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT program’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Get in touch with some Tolleson AZ physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your program selections. It might also be a good idea to contact the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two important statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Tolleson AZ area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even excellent. It also confirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the school you enroll in provides both excellent training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are reviewing have partnerships with Tolleson AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to get practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional connections in the Tolleson health care community and assist with job placement once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they select will have to be within driving distance of their Tolleson AZ residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern 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 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 typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? Most DPT colleges supply some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and see what type of help is available. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapist school you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Tolleson AZ area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Tolleson Arizona?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Tolleson AZ area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Tolleson is located on the west side of the Phoenix metropolitan area. The community lies just south of I-10. The community of Avondale lies about four miles to the southwest and Fowler is four miles to the southeast. The Agua Fria River is about four miles to the west.
As of the 2017 census Tolleson had a population of 7,178. The ethnic and racial makeup of the population was 80.1% Hispanic (72.7% of the total population identifying as of Mexican descent, 1.0% identifying as being of Puerto Rican descent), 11.0% non-Hispanic white, 5.8% non-Hispanic blacks, 1.0% non-Hispanic Native American, 0.9% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 0.2% non-Hispanic reporting some other race and 4.2% reporting two or more races (only 1.1% of the population was non-Hispanics reporting two or more races, however Hispanicness itself is not treated as something one can be partly).
As of the census of 2000, there were 4,974 people, 1,432 households, and 1,151 families residing in the city. The population density was 894.1 people per square mile (345.4/km²). There were 1,485 housing units at an average density of 266.9 per square mile (103.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 52.21% White, 1.43% Black or African American, 1.23% Native American, 0.46% Asian, 0.16% Pacific Islander, 40.79% from other races, and 3.72% from two or more races. 77.97% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Select the Ideal Physical Therapist College near Tolleson AZ
Choosing the best physical therapy school is an important first decision you have to make to launch a gratifying career in the health care profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you choose should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are other important questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapy program, keep in mind that a number of variables will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You might decide to visit different schools to view their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the best selection. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Tolleson AZ.
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