How to Select a Physical Therapist Degree Program near Sitka 99835
Receiving a physical therapy degree near Sitka AK is a critical first step to beginning a rewarding career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled as a result of injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the appropriate training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate those you are considering to make sure they will provide a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is select a college just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be considered besides location and cost. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in a variety of settings, including Sitka AK private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Sitka AK medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Offered
There are 3 physical therapist degrees available for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief explanations of degrees that are available in the Sitka AK area:
- Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often provided by community colleges, and require two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a portion of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to prepare candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take 4 years to complete 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 3 years to finish, making the overall investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential component in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in several states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer offered in the USA. A number of practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Degrees Online
While not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online portion of the program may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Sitka AK home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition may 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, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning a few of your initial questions, such as the type of physical therapy degree you would like to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Sitka AK area and throughout Alaska, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college options. Also, you need to make certain that you enroll in the program that is best for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Find out if the programs you are looking at have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As earlier mentioned, 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 college, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several ways you can investigate a PT school’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call a few Sitka AK physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your school options. It might also be a good idea to contact the Alaska Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of useful statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Sitka AK area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also affirms that the program has a large network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you enroll in provides both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria for Alaska or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapy colleges you are assessing have associations with Sitka AK clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional connections in the Sitka health care community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? 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 undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Sitka AK home. Students who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to bear 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 may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT colleges offer some type of financial aid to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department and see what kind of assistance is available. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. Some physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapist school you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Sitka AK area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Sitka Alaska?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Sitka AK area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
The City and Borough of Sitka (Tlingit: Sheetʼká), formerly Novo-Arkhangelsk, or New Archangel under Russian rule (Russian: Ново-Архангельск or Новоaрхангельск, t Novoarkhangelsk), is a unified city-borough on Baranof Island and the south half of Chichagof Island in the Alexander Archipelago of the Pacific Ocean (part of the Alaska Panhandle), in the U.S. state of Alaska. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 8,881.
In terms of land area, it is the largest city-borough in the U.S., with a land area of 2,870.3 square miles (7,434 square kilometres) and a total area (including water area) of 4,811.4 square miles (12,461 square kilometres). Urban Sitka, the part usually thought of as the "city" of Sitka, is on the west side of Baranof Island.
The current name Sitka (derived from Sheet’ká, a contraction of the Tlingit Shee At'iká) means "People on the Outside of Baranof Island," whose Tlingit name is Sheet’-ká X'áat'l (here contracted to Shee).
Choose the Ideal Physical Therapy School near Sitka AK
Choosing the right physical therapist school is an important initial decision you need to make to launch a rewarding career in the healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you choose should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are additional critical questions that you should ask regarding your college of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapy college, keep in mind that a number of variables will lead you to your ultimate decision. You may want to go to each of the schools to view their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the right selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Sitka AK.
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