How to Pick a Physical Therapy College near Lakeside 85929
Earning a physical therapist degree near Lakeside AZ is an important first step to starting a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated as a result of injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research the ones you are considering to make sure they will provide a superior education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is select a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant 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 Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in a variety of locations, including Lakeside AZ hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to address the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Lakeside AZ health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, 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 take note of for anyone considering 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 Therapy Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapy degree options available for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief summaries of degrees that are offered in the Lakeside AZ area:
- Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often offered by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically part of the curriculum.
- 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 eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they typically require 4 years to finish and often include 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 also must 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 total investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an important element in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in a number of states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer available in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Degrees
Although not as common as the on-campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature 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 nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the curriculum can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Lakeside AZ home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition can be significantly less than similar on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
By now you probably have made a decision concerning several of your preliminary questions, such as the type of physical therapy degree you intend to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Lakeside AZ area and throughout Arizona, you’ll have to explore other qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of school choices. Also, you want to make certain that you enroll in the college that is best for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are thinking about. Ask each of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Ask if the programs you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As previously mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online school, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist school and program you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might 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 important that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can investigate a PT program’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call several Lakeside AZ physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your school options. 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 filed against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapy programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might mean that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Lakeside 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 outstanding. It also confirms that the college has a broad network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you enroll in provides both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies 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) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapy colleges you are evaluating have partnerships with Lakeside AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only 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 supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Lakeside health care community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
How Large 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 undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing 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 an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Lakeside AZ home. Individuals who have opted 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. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? Most DPT colleges offer some type of financial support to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are considering have a financial assistance department and find out what kind of assistance is obtainable. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you might 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, learn what financial assistance might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist program you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Lakeside AZ area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Lakeside Arizona?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Lakeside AZ area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Pinetop–Lakeside is a small town in Navajo County, Arizona, United States. According to 2010 census, the population of the town is 4,282. It was founded in 1984 when the neighboring towns of Pinetop and Lakeside merged.
Pinetop–Lakeside is a popular summer resort and second-home area for Arizona desert residents. In 2002, a large forest fire, the Rodeo-Chediski fire, threatened the town and forced an evacuation. The town is near extensive forests, and in normal times is a popular recreational area.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 11.3 square miles (29 km2), of which, 11.3 square miles (29 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (0.71%) is water.
Pick the Best Physical Therapist Training Program near Lakeside AZ
Deciding on the right physical therapist program is a necessary initial decision you need to make to start a fulfilling career in the healthcare profession. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you enroll in should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. But there are other relevant questions that you should ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist program, keep in mind that numerous factors will guide you toward your final decision. You might want to visit each of the schools to see their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the right selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Lakeside AZ.
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