How to Select a Physical Therapy Degree Program near Cave Creek 85327
Receiving a physical therapy degree near Cave Creek AZ is an essential first step to launching a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated due to illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the proper education and training. A PT must also be licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to evaluate those you are looking at to ensure they will furnish a quality education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated along with location and cost. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address 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, such as Cave Creek AZ hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also try to prevent any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Cave Creek AZ health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Offered
There are three physical therapist degree options offered for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize 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 offered in the Cave Creek AZ area:
- Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually provided by community or junior colleges, and take about two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist education to prep students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically take 4 years to complete and often include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated 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 commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an important element along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not just for graduation but in several states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer offered in the USA. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Programs
While not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Cave Creek AZ home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition can be somewhat less than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenditures 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 ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
At this point you probably have come to decision regarding a few of your initial queries, including the kind of physical therapist degree you want to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Cave Creek AZ area and across Arizona, you’ll need to look into additional qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of school choices. Furthermore, you want to be sure that you select 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 competing schools these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Ask if the programs you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier 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 college, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Contact some Cave Creek AZ physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your program options. It may also be prudent 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 Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might mean that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Cave Creek AZ area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or even outstanding. It also confirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you choose provides both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working. 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 PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapist programs you are reviewing have partnerships with Cave Creek AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Cave Creek healthcare community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are looking at 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 ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Cave Creek AZ residence. Students who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? The majority of DPT schools supply some type of financial support to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance office and find out what type of aid is offered. At a minimum they should help in getting 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 program because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapy college you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Cave Creek AZ area, verify that they are available. 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 enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Cave Creek Arizona?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Cave Creek AZ area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Cave Creek, Arizona
There are various historic properties and artifacts in the town of Cave Creek. Located on the grounds of the Cave Creek Museum are the Tubercular Cabin, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the First Church of Cave Creek and Golden Reef Stamp Mill. Two of the historic properties have been converted into restaurants. They are the Cave Creek Service Station, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and the Cave Creek Inn. Frontier Town which has some of Cave Creeks original structures is also pictured.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 28.2 square miles (73 km2), all land. It is adjacent to the town of Carefree, and shares local landmark Black Mountain with Carefree.
There are two notable streams known as Cave Creek in Arizona. One flows through the Town of Cave Creek and into Phoenix. This may be the origin of the town's name. The other Cave Creek (Cave Creek Canyon) is in the Chiricahua Mountains, 200 miles to the southeast.
Pick the Ideal Physical Therapy Training Program near Cave Creek AZ
Deciding on the ideal physical therapist program is an important initial decision you need to make to launch a fulfilling career in the health care field. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you enroll in should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are other critical questions that you should ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapy program, bear in mind that many factors will lead you toward your final decision. You may want to visit each of the campuses to view their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me achieve 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 ideal choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Cave Creek AZ.
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