How to Enroll In a Physical Therapist School near Eagle River 99577
Getting a physical therapist degree near Eagle River AK is a critical first step to starting a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated due to injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the necessary education and training. A PT must also become licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research those you are considering to make sure they will deliver a superior education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is choose a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be considered in addition to cost and location. 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’s Job Description?
Physical therapists practice in varying settings, including Eagle River AK private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also strive to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Eagle River AK medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating 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 kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are three physical therapy degree options available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is offered 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. Below are short descriptions of degrees that are available in the Eagle River AK area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are most often provided by community or junior colleges, and require two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally part of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy training to prepare students to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally require 4 years to finish and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to complete, making the overall investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential element along with the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion 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 phased out and is no longer attainable in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Programs Online
While not as prevalent as the on-campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees available, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Eagle River AK home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition may be significantly less than similar on-campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning a few of your preliminary questions, including the type of physical therapist degree you would like to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Eagle River AK area and across Alaska, you’ll need to research other qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of school choices. Also, you want to make certain that you choose the program that is right for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. Ask each of the competing schools these questions before making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Find out if the programs you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously 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 select an online program, it can also receive 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 simply the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can research a PT college’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Contact a few Eagle River AK 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 school options. It might also be a good idea to check with the Alaska Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapist schools you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Eagle River AK area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also affirms that the school has a large network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the school you enroll in furnishes both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are interested in have partnerships with Eagle River AK clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Eagle River healthcare community and help with job placement after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for 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 determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Eagle River AK home. Students who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program 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 commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Most DPT colleges supply some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Ask if the colleges you are considering have a financial aid office and see what kind of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial aid may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapy college you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Eagle River AK area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Eagle River Alaska?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Eagle River AK area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Eagle River, Anchorage
Eagle River is a community within the Municipality of Anchorage situated on the Eagle River for which it is named, between Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and Chugach State Park in the Chugach Mountains. Its ZIP code is 99577. If Eagle River were not part of the Municipality of Anchorage, it would be classified as one of the five largest cities in Alaska.
The name Eagle River was first reported in 1939 by the U.S. Geological Survey. The Eagle River/Chugiak area was settled by homesteaders and prospered on agricultural activities. The Eagle River post office was established in 1961.
In spite of some local opposition, both Chugiak and Eagle River became annexed to the Municipality of Anchorage, when the City of Anchorage and the Greater Anchorage Area Borough were unified in 1975. Efforts to secede from the Municipality surfaced around 2000, but are no longer prominent as the community has seen an influx of individuals who have social and economic ties to Anchorage and the nearby Joint Base Elmendorf–Richardson.
Choose the Right Physical Therapist College near Eagle River AK
Deciding on the right physical therapist school is a necessary first decision you have to make to start a gratifying career in the health care field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you pick should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. However there are additional important questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapist college, keep in mind that many variables will guide you to your ultimate decision. You may want to visit different colleges to see their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me reach my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the right choice. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Eagle River AK.
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