How to Select a Physical Therapist Degree Program near Lake Havasu City 86403
Getting a physical therapist degree near Lake Havasu City AZ is an essential first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated due to injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the appropriate training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate the ones you are looking at to ensure they will provide a superior education and meet your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is select a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be considered in addition to 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 the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists work in varying locations, including Lake Havasu City AZ private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also strive to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Lake Havasu City AZ health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapist degrees available for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is available 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 short explanations of degrees that are available in the Lake Havasu City AZ area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually offered by community colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy education to ready candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they normally take four years to finish and often incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required in order 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 3 years to finish, making the total commitment seven years in the majority of 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 mandated, not just for graduation but in some states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer available 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 implemented.
Physical Therapist Degrees Online
While not as prevalent as the on-campus alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online segment of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Lake Havasu City AZ home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition might be significantly less than similar on-campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
By now you probably have come to decision concerning some of your preliminary queries, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you want to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Lake Havasu City AZ area and across Arizona, you’ll have to research additional qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Furthermore, you want to make certain that you select the school that is right for you. That’s why we have collected a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential schools these questions before making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier 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 enroll in an online program, it can also earn 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, verify 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 getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, beginning 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 as well. Call several Lake Havasu City AZ physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide 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 colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist schools you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Lake Havasu City AZ area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or even excellent. It also confirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the college you select furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for Arizona or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the physical therapy colleges you are interested in have relationships with Lake Havasu City AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may help students and graduates form professional connections in the Lake Havasu City health care community and help with obtaining employment 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 want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Lake Havasu City AZ residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? Most DPT colleges offer some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are examining have a financial aid office and see what kind of help is obtainable. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. A number of physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapy program you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Lake Havasu City AZ area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Lake Havasu City Arizona?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Lake Havasu City AZ area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Lake Havasu City, Arizona
Lake Havasu City is a city in Mohave County, Arizona, United States. According to 2010 census, the population of the city was 52,527 people. It is served by Lake Havasu City Airport. Lake Havasu City is geographically isolated from the other cities in Mohave County and is the southernmost community of the Las Vegas–Henderson, NV–AZ combined statistical area.
The community first started as an Army Air Corps rest camp, called "Site Six". during World War II on the shores of Lake Havasu. In 1958, American businessman Robert P. McCulloch purchased 3,353 acres (13.57 km2) of property on the east side of the lake along Pittsburgh Point, the peninsula that eventually would be transformed into "the Island".
After four years of planning, McCulloch Properties acquired another 13,000 acres of federal land in the surrounding area. Lake Havasu City was established on September 30, 1963, by a resolution of the Mohave County Board of Supervisors as the Lake Havasu Irrigation and Drainage District, making it a legal entity. (The act is referenced in resolution #63-12-1.) The city was incorporated in 1978.
Choose the Best Physical Therapist School near Lake Havasu City AZ
Selecting the right physical therapist college is a necessary first decision you have to make to begin a fulfilling career in the medical profession. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you choose should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. But there are other critical questions that you need to ask regarding your college of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapy school, bear in mind that a number of factors will lead you to your final decision. You may decide to go to different schools to view their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Lake Havasu City AZ.
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