How to Choose a Physical Therapist Program near Yuma 85364
Getting a physical therapy degree near Yuma AZ is an important first step to starting a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated as a result of injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the proper education and training. A PT must also become licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to evaluate those you are thinking about to ensure they will furnish a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is select a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be considered in addition to location and cost. But before we discuss 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?
Physical therapists work in a variety of locations, such as Yuma 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 stated, physical therapists help individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Yuma AZ health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are three physical therapy degree options available for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is attainable to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are brief summaries of degree levels that are offered in the Yuma AZ area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are most often made available by community or junior colleges, and take about two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a portion of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy training to ready candidates to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to practicing as 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 also must 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 total commitment 7 years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal element in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not just for graduation but in several states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer attainable in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Colleges Online
Although not as common as the more traditional alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Yuma AZ residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition may be significantly lower than similar on campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring 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.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding several of your preliminary questions, such as the type of physical therapy degree you would like to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the Yuma AZ area and throughout Arizona, you’ll have to research additional qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of college choices. Moreover, you want to be sure that you enroll in the college that is right for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. 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 choose an online college, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, beginning 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 also. Call several Yuma AZ physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your program selections. It may 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 Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two important statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapy programs you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Yuma AZ area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or even outstanding. It also confirms that the school has a large network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the college you choose furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing have partnerships with Yuma AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Yuma healthcare community and assist with job placement once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they select will have to be within driving distance of their Yuma AZ residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often 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 looking at have a financial assistance office and see what kind of aid is obtainable. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapy school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Yuma AZ area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Yuma Arizona?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Yuma AZ area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Yuma (Cocopah: Yuum) is a city in and the county seat of Yuma County, Arizona, United States. It is located in the southwestern corner of the state, and the population of the city was 93,064 at the 2010 census, up from the 2000 census population of 77,515.
Yuma is the principal city of the Yuma, Arizona Metropolitan Statistical Area, which consists of Yuma County. According to the United States Census Bureau, the 2014 estimated population of the Yuma MSA is 203,247. More than 85,000 retirees make Yuma their winter residence.
In 1540, Spanish colonial expeditions under Hernando de Alarcon and Melchior Diaz visited the area and immediately recognized the natural crossing of the Colorado River as an ideal spot for a city. The Colorado River narrows to slightly under 1,000 feet wide in one area. Military expeditions that crossed the Colorado River at the Yuma Crossing include Juan Bautista de Anza (1774), the Mormon Battalion (1848) and the California Column (1862).
Choose the Right Physical Therapy Degree Program near Yuma AZ
Picking the best physical therapist program is a necessary initial decision you need to make to begin a rewarding career in the healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you enroll in should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are additional critical questions that you need to ask regarding your school of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapy program, bear in mind that a number of variables will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You may want to go to different campuses to view their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing 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 right choice. And with the proper training and education, you can accomplish your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Yuma AZ.
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