How to Select the Right Physical Therapy College near Anchorage Alaska
Receiving a physical therapy degree near Anchorage AK is an essential first step to starting a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled due to illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the necessary training and education. A PT must also become licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to investigate those you are considering to ensure they will deliver a superior education and meet your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is select a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be considered along with cost and location. 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 is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists work in diverse locations, such as Anchorage AK hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes 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 frequently pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they design a course of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks
- Sports injuries
- Fire injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Anchorage AK medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are three physical therapist degree options offered for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is attainable to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are brief summaries of degree levels that are available in the Anchorage AK area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are usually provided by community colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a portion of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training to prep students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally take four years to complete and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 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 three years to finish, making the total commitment seven 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 mandated, not solely for graduation but in a number of 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 practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Colleges Online
While not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Anchorage AK home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat less than similar on-campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
At this point you probably have come to decision concerning some of your preliminary queries, like the kind of physical therapist degree you intend to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Anchorage AK area and throughout Alaska, you’ll have to explore other qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Also, you want to be sure that you select the program that is right for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are considering. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Find out if the colleges 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 obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, starting 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 organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with some Anchorage AK physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your program 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 schools.
What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapy programs you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Anchorage AK area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or even exceptional. It also verifies that the school has a large network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the program you enroll in furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the physical therapist colleges you are evaluating have relationships with Anchorage AK clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Anchorage medical community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Anchorage AK residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online naturally 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 program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? The majority of DPT schools provide some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Ask if the colleges you are considering have a financial aid department and find out what type of assistance is offered. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapist program you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Anchorage AK area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Anchorage Alaska?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Anchorage AK area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Anchorage (officially called the Municipality of Anchorage; Dena'ina: Dgheyaytnu) is a unified home rule municipality in the U.S. state of Alaska, located in the West Coast of the United States. With an estimated 291,538 residents in 2018, it is Alaska's most populous city and contains more than 40 percent of the state's total population; among the 50 states, only New York has a higher percentage of residents who live in its most populous city. All together, the Anchorage metropolitan area, which combines Anchorage with the neighboring Matanuska-Susitna Borough, had a population of 399,148 in 2018, which accounts for more than half of the state's population. At 1,706 square miles (4,420 km2) of land area, the city is the fourth largest city by land in the United States and larger than the smallest state, Rhode Island, which is 1,212 square miles (3,140 km2) in area.
Anchorage is in the south-central portion of Alaska, at the terminus of the Cook Inlet, on a peninsula formed by the Knik Arm to the north and the Turnagain Arm to the south. The city limits span 1,961.1 square miles (5,079.2 km2) which encompass the urban core, a joint military base, several outlying communities and almost all of Chugach State Park.
Due to its location, almost equidistant from New York City, Frankfurt, and Tokyo, Anchorage lies within 9 1⁄2 hours by air of nearly 90% of the industrialized world. For this reason, the Anchorage International Airport is a common refueling stop for many international cargo flights and home to a major FedEx hub, which the company calls a "critical part" of its global network of services.
How Long Does Physical Therapy School Take Anchorage AK
Choosing the right physical therapy program is a necessary first decision you must make to start a rewarding career in the medical profession. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you select should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. However there are other relevant questions that you should ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on How Long Does Physical Therapy School Take. However, as you begin your search for a physical therapist college keep in mind that numerous factors will guide you to your ultimate decision. You might decide to visit each of the campuses to view their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me reach my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Anchorage AK.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Alaska
Business Results 1 - 10 of 42