How to Choose a Physical Therapy Program near Willcox 85643
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Willcox AZ is a critical first step to launching a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled as a result of illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the necessary education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate the ones you are considering to ensure they will provide a superior education and meet your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is choose a school just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be considered besides cost and location. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of settings, including Willcox AZ hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also try to prevent any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Willcox AZ health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone thinking about going into 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 prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
There are three physical therapy degree options available for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single 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 advance to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degree levels that are available in the Willcox AZ area:
- Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually offered by community colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy training to ready candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take four years to complete and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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 finish, making the total commitment seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal element along with the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not just 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 phased out and is no longer offered in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Colleges
While not as common as the on-campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to 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 an available internship. Fortunately, the online part of the curriculum can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Willcox AZ home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition might be somewhat less than comparable on-campus options, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
At this point you most likely have made a decision regarding some of your preliminary questions, including the kind of physical therapist degree you intend to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Willcox AZ area and throughout Arizona, you’ll have to research additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college options. Moreover, you want to make sure that you select the school that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing schools these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Find out if the schools you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As earlier stated, 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 program, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call a few Willcox AZ physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your college selections. It may also be a good idea to contact the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Willcox AZ area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also verifies that the program has a broad network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the school you select furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the physical therapist colleges you are evaluating have relationships with Willcox AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may help students and graduates form professional connections in the Willcox medical community and help with job placement after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapist school they select will have to be within driving distance of their Willcox AZ residence. Students who have opted to attend classes online obviously 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 even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? The majority of DPT colleges supply some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial aid office and see what kind of help is available. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapy school you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Willcox AZ area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Willcox Arizona?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Willcox AZ area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Originally known as "Maley", the town was founded in 1880 as a whistlestop on the Southern Pacific Railroad. It was renamed in honor of a visit by General Orlando B. Willcox in 1889. In the early 20th century, Willcox had the distinction of being a national leader in cattle production. Agriculture remains important to the local economy, but Interstate 10 has replaced the railroad as the major transportation link, and much of the economy is now tied to the highway, which runs immediately north of the town.
Willcox is the birthplace of Rex Allen, known as "The Arizona Cowboy", who wrote and recorded many songs, starred in several Westerns during the early 1950s and in the syndicated television series Frontier Doctor (1958–1959). Willcox was among the locations of 26 Men (1957–1959), another syndicated series that depicted true stories of the Arizona Rangers starring Tristram Coffin and Kelo Henderson.
Willcox is located in northern Cochise County at 32°15′20″N 109°50′8″W / 32.25556°N 109.83556°W / 32.25556; -109.83556 (32.255622, -109.835520) in the Sulphur Springs Valley. Interstate 10 serves the city with three exits and leads 35 miles (56 km) southwest to Benson, Arizona, and 74 miles (119 km) east to Lordsburg, New Mexico.
Enroll in the Ideal Physical Therapist College near Willcox AZ
Picking the best physical therapy school is a necessary initial decision you need to make to start a fulfilling career in the health care profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you enroll in should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. But there are other relevant questions that you should ask concerning your school of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist program, keep in mind that numerous factors will lead you toward your final decision. You may decide to visit different campuses to see their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the best choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Willcox AZ.
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