How to Choose the Right Physical Therapist School near Cordova Alaska
Earning a physical therapy degree near Cordova AK is a critical first step to launching a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the proper training and education. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate those you are looking at to make certain they will deliver a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is choose 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 need to be considered along with cost and location. But before we cover 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 is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in varying locations, such as Cordova AK private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries
- Cardiac arrest
- Sports injuries
- Fire injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Cordova AK medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can 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 thinking about getting 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 therapy degrees offered for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief summaries of degree levels that are offered in the Cordova AK area:
- Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often provided by junior or community colleges, and take about two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist training to prepare candidates to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally require four years to finish and commonly incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement in order to become a practicing licensed physical therapist. The degree program also must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to finish, making the overall investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal element along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in several 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 in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Programs Online
Although not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapy programs available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure 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 in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Cordova AK residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat lower than comparable on campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
By now you probably have come to decision regarding several of your preliminary queries, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Cordova AK area and throughout Alaska, you’ll need to explore additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school choices. Furthermore, you need to be sure that you select the college that is right for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering. Ask each of the competing schools these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously 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 school, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can research a PT college’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Get in touch with a few Cordova AK physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your college selections. It may also be a good idea to check with the Alaska Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two relevant statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students left because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Cordova AK area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even excellent. It also verifies that the college has a wide network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the college you select 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) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the physical therapy schools you are interested in have partnerships with Cordova AK hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to receive practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Cordova healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide 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 colleges you are reviewing what the average 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 a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Cordova AK residence. Students who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT colleges provide some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Find out if the schools you are looking at have a financial assistance office and see what type of aid is offered. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapy program you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Cordova AK area, make certain that they are available. 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, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Cordova Alaska?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Cordova AK area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Cordova (/kɔːrˈdoʊvə, ˈkɔːrdəvə/) is a small town located near the mouth of the Copper River in the Valdez-Cordova Census Area, Alaska, United States, at the head of Orca Inlet on the east side of Prince William Sound. The population was 2,239 at the 2010 census, down from 2,454 in 2000. Cordova was named Puerto Cordova by Spanish explorer Salvador Fidalgo in 1790. No roads connect Cordova to other Alaskan towns, so a plane or ferry is required to travel there. In the Exxon Valdez oil spill of March 1989, an oil tanker ran aground northwest of Cordova, heavily damaging ecology and fishing. It was cleaned up shortly after, but there are lingering effects, such as a lowered population of some birds.
In 1790 the inlet in front of the current Cordova townsite was named Puerto Cordova by Spanish explorer Salvador Fidalgo, after Spanish admiral Luis de Córdova y Córdova. The town of Cordova was named after it, although the inlet itself was later renamed the Orca Inlet. Cordova proper was founded as a result of the discovery of high-grade copper ore at Kennecott, north of Cordova. A group of surveyors from Valdez laid out a town site and Michael James Heney purchased half the land for the terminus of the Copper River and Northwestern Railway after determining that the neighboring town of Katalla was a poor harbor. Heney and his crew held a brief ceremony to organize the town on March 26, 1906. A week later crews arrived to begin work on the railroad. The first lots in the new town site, which make up the heart of present-day Cordova, were sold at auction in May 1908. As the railroad grew, so did the town. Eventually schools, businesses, a hospital, and utilities were established. After the railroad was completed Cordova became the transportation hub for the ore coming out of Kennecott. In the years 1911 to 1938, more than 200 million tons of copper ore was transported through Cordova.
The area around Cordova was historically home to the Eyak, with a population of Chugach to the west, and occasional visits from Ahtna and Tlingit people for trade or battle. The last full-blooded Eyak Marie Smith Jones died in 2008, but the native traditions and lifestyle still has an influence on the local culture. Cordova was also once the home of a booming razor clam industry, and between 1916 and the late 1950s it was known as the "Razor Clam Capital of the World". Commercial harvest in the area was as much as 3.5 million pounds. Returns began declining in the late 1950s, presumably due to overharvesting and a large die-off in 1958. The 1964 Good Friday earthquake effectively and completely obliterated the industry; in some areas, the ground was thrust up by as much as six feet, exposing the already depleted clam beds. There has been no commercial harvest in the area since 1988 with the exception of a brief harvest in 1993.
Physical Therapist Training Requirements Cordova AK
Picking the ideal physical therapist school is an important initial decision you have to make to begin a rewarding career in the medical field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you enroll in should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are additional important questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice also. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Physical Therapist Training Requirements. However, as you commence your search for a physical therapist program bear in mind that numerous variables will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You may want to visit each of the schools to see their facilities and speak to active 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 field so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Cordova AK.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Alaska