How to Pick the Right Physical Therapy Program near Fairbanks Alaska
Getting a physical therapist degree near Fairbanks AK is an important first step to starting a rewarding career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated 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 obtain the necessary education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research those you are looking at to make certain they will provide a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is select a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be evaluated besides cost and location. But before we discuss 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 work in diverse settings, such as Fairbanks AK private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to address the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also strive to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries
- Heart attacks
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Burn injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Fairbanks AK health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are 3 physical therapist degree options offered for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, 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 prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degree levels that are offered in the Fairbanks AK area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically offered by junior or community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to prepare students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally require four years to complete and often include an internship program of at least 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). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to finish, making the overall investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an essential element in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in several states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has taken the place of the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer available in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Degrees Online
Although not as prevalent as the more traditional alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapist degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the curriculum can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Fairbanks AK residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition might be somewhat lower than comparable on-campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
At this point you probably have come to decision regarding several of your initial queries, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you intend to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Fairbanks AK area and throughout Alaska, you’ll have to research other qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school options. Furthermore, you need to make certain that you choose the school that is best for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Find out if the schools you are reviewing have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As earlier 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 program, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, beginning with asking for 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 as well. Contact some Fairbanks AK physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your college options. It might also be prudent to check with the Alaska Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapist programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students left because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Fairbanks AK area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even outstanding. It also verifies that the college has a wide network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you select provides both excellent training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements 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) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapy programs you are assessing have associations with Fairbanks AK hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Fairbanks medical community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Fairbanks AK residence. Those who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? Most DPT schools supply some form of financial support to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and see what type of aid is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist program you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fairbanks AK area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Fairbanks Alaska?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Fairbanks AK area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Fairbanks is the largest city in the Interior region of Alaska. 2016 estimates put the population of the city proper at 32,751, and the population of the Fairbanks North Star Borough at 97,121, making it the second most populous metropolitan area in Alaska (after Anchorage). The Metropolitan Statistical Area encompasses all of the Fairbanks North Star Borough and is the northernmost Metropolitan Statistical Area in the United States, located 196 driving miles (or 140 air miles) south of the Arctic Circle. Fairbanks is home to the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the founding campus of the University of Alaska system.
Though, as of yet, there is not a known permanent Alaska Native settlement at the site of Fairbanks, Athabascan peoples have used the area for thousands of years. An archaeological site excavated on the grounds of the University of Alaska Fairbanks uncovered a Native camp about 3,500 years old, with older remains found at deeper levels. From evidence gathered at the site, archaeologists surmise that Native activities in the area were limited to seasonal hunting and fishing as frigid temperatures precluded berry gathering . In addition, archeological sites on the grounds of nearby Fort Wainwright date back well over 10,000 years. Arrowheads excavated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks site matched similar items found in Asia, providing some of the first evidence that humans arrived in North America via the Bering Strait land bridge in deep antiquity.
Captain E. T. Barnette founded Fairbanks in August 1901 while headed to Tanacross (or Tanana Crossing, where the Valdez–Eagle trail crossed the Tanana River), where he intended to set up a trading post. The steamboat on which Barnette was a passenger, the Lavelle Young, ran aground while attempting to negotiate shallow water. Barnette, along with his party and supplies, were deposited along the banks of the Chena River 7 miles (11 km) upstream from its confluence with the Tanana River. The sight of smoke from the steamer's engines caught the attention of gold prospectors working in the hills to the north, most notably an Italian immigrant named Felice Pedroni (better known as Felix Pedro) and his partner Tom Gilmore. The two met Barnette where he disembarked and convinced him of the potential of the area. Barnette set up his trading post at the site, still intending to eventually make it to Tanacross. Teams of gold prospectors soon congregated in and around the newly founded Fairbanks; they built drift mines, dredges, and lode mines in addition to panning and sluicing.
Schooling Required For Physical Therapist Fairbanks AK
Deciding on the ideal physical therapist college is a necessary first decision you need to make to start a gratifying career in the health care field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you enroll in should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. But there are other important questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Schooling Required For Physical Therapist. However, as you start your search for a physical therapist school keep in mind that a number of variables will lead you toward your final decision. You may want to go to different schools to view their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me achieve 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 appropriate selection. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Fairbanks AK.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Alaska
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