How to Enroll In a Physical Therapist Degree Program near Flagstaff 86001
Earning a physical therapy degree near Flagstaff AZ is an essential first step to starting a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled due to injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the proper training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research those you are looking at to make sure they will supply a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is select a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be evaluated besides location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists practice in diverse settings, such as Flagstaff AZ private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they design a program of treatment to address the mobility problems 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:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Flagstaff AZ medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
There are 3 physical therapist degrees available for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is attainable to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief explanations of degrees that are available in the Flagstaff AZ area:
- Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are most often made available by junior or community colleges, and require two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to prep candidates to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they generally take four years to complete and commonly incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required if you want to become a licensed practicing 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 finish, making the overall commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an intregal element in addition to the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in several 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. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Programs
While not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapy programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online part of the program may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Flagstaff AZ home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition may be somewhat less than comparable on-campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you most likely have made a decision regarding a few of your initial queries, including the type of physical therapy degree you intend to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Flagstaff AZ area and throughout Arizona, you’ll have to research additional qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of college options. Also, you need to make certain that you enroll in the school that is best for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are considering. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. 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 choose an online school, 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 simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact a few Flagstaff AZ physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your college 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 colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapy programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Flagstaff AZ area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also verifies that the school has a broad network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you enroll in provides both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the physical therapist schools you are interested in have relationships with Flagstaff AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Flagstaff medical community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Flagstaff AZ home. Students 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 concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually 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 Offered? Most DPT colleges offer some form of financial aid to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid office and see what type of aid is available. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. Some physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapy program you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Flagstaff AZ area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Flagstaff Arizona?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Flagstaff AZ area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Flagstaff is a city in and the county seat of Coconino County in northern Arizona, in the southwestern United States. In 2015, the city's estimated population was 70,320. Flagstaff's combined metropolitan area has an estimated population of 139,097. The city is named after a ponderosa pine flagpole made by a scouting party from Boston (known as the "Second Boston Party") to celebrate the United States Centennial on July 4, 1876.
Flagstaff lies near the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau, along the western side of the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in the continental United States. Flagstaff is next to Mount Elden, just south of the San Francisco Peaks, the highest mountain range in the state of Arizona. Humphreys Peak, the highest point in Arizona at 12,633 feet (3,851 m), is about 10 miles (16 km) north of Flagstaff in Kachina Peaks Wilderness.
Flagstaff's early economy was based on the lumber, railroad, and ranching industries. Today, the city remains an important distribution hub for companies such as Nestlé Purina PetCare, and is home to Lowell Observatory, The U.S. Naval Observatory, the United States Geological Survey Flagstaff Station, and Northern Arizona University. Flagstaff has a strong tourism sector, due to its proximity to Grand Canyon National Park, Oak Creek Canyon, the Arizona Snowbowl, Meteor Crater, and historic Route 66. The city is also a center for medical device manufacturing, since Flagstaff is home to W. L. Gore and Associates.
Pick the Best Physical Therapy Training Program near Flagstaff AZ
Choosing the right physical therapist program is a necessary first decision you have to make to begin a rewarding career in the medical field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you enroll in should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. However there are other important questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapy college, keep in mind that many variables will guide you toward your final decision. You may want to go to different campuses to see their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the best choice. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Flagstaff AZ.
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