How to Pick a Physical Therapy College near Florence 85232
Earning a physical therapist degree near Florence AZ is a critical first step to launching a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled as a result of injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the proper training and education. A PT must also become licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to evaluate the ones you are thinking about to ensure they will provide a superior education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is enroll in a college just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated along with 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 the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists work in diverse locations, including Florence AZ hospitals, health clinics, 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 touched on, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to address the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Florence AZ health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone thinking about going into 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 Degree Options
There are three physical therapist degrees offered for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short descriptions of degree levels that are offered in the Florence AZ area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually offered by community or junior colleges, and take about two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training to prepare candidates to advance to the doctoral level. Although 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 require four years to finish and often include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program must also be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to complete, making the overall commitment seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential element in addition to the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in several states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has taken the place of the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer attainable in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists having 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 Therapist Colleges Online
While not as common as the on campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online portion of the program may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Florence AZ residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition can be somewhat lower 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 advantages can make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
By now you probably have made a decision regarding several of your initial queries, including the type of physical therapist degree you would like to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Florence AZ area and across Arizona, you’ll have to explore additional qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Moreover, you want to make sure that you pick the school that is ideal for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. 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 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 choose are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, beginning with requesting 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 as well. Contact several Florence AZ physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your college selections. It may also be a good idea to check with the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Florence AZ area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or even exceptional. It also affirms that the program has a large network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the program you enroll in provides both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria 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) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the physical therapy programs you are assessing have relationships with Florence AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to receive practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Florence healthcare community and assist with job placement after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Florence AZ home. 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 keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Most DPT colleges supply some type of financial aid to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are considering have a financial aid department and find out what kind of assistance is available. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. Some physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapist school you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Florence AZ area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check 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 may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Florence Arizona?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Florence AZ area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Florence (O'odham: S-auppag) is a town, 61 miles (98 km) southeast of Phoenix, in Pinal County, Arizona, United States. Florence, which is the county seat of Pinal County, is one of the oldest towns in that county and is regarded as a National Historic District with over 25 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The population of Florence was 30,770 at the 2015 census.
The area where the current town of Florence is located was once inhabited by the members of the Athabascans, ancestors of the San Carlos Apache tribe. Prior to the establishment of the town, the Gila River served as a part of the border between the United States and Mexico. In 1853, the Gadsden Purchase extended American territory well south of the Gila.
Levi Ruggles, a veteran of the American Civil War, founded the town of Florence on the south bank of the Gila River. He came to Arizona Territory in 1866 as a U.S. Indian Agent. Recognizing the agricultural potential of the valley, he found an easily fordable crossing on the Gila River and surveyed a townsite there. With the aid of Governor R.C. McCormick, he secured a post office in August of the same year. Ruggles held numerous public offices including that of Territorial Legislator. Florence became the county seat in the newly formed Pinal County. Silver was discovered in 1875 in the nearby mountains which led to the creation of the famous Silver King Mine.
Choose the Right Physical Therapy College near Florence AZ
Deciding on the best physical therapy school is an important first decision you have to make to begin a fulfilling career in the medical profession. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you select should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are additional relevant questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist school, bear in mind that numerous factors will guide you to your ultimate decision. You may decide to go to different colleges to view 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 field so you can make the right selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Florence AZ.
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