How to Select the Right Physical Therapist College near Girdwood Alaska
Earning a physical therapist degree near Girdwood AK is a critical first step to starting a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled due to injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the necessary training and education. A PT must also become licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to investigate the ones you are thinking about to make sure they will furnish a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be evaluated besides location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists practice in varying settings, including Girdwood AK private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although 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 practice in close association with other Girdwood AK health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapist degree options available for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degree levels that are available in the Girdwood AK area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained 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. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically a portion of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy education to ready candidates to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically take four years to finish and often include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated 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 3 years to complete, making the total investment of time 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an intregal element along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in some 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 eliminated and is no longer available in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists having 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 Colleges Online
Although not as common as the more traditional options, there are some accredited online physical therapy programs available, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Girdwood AK residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat lower than comparable on-campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
By now you most likely have come to decision concerning several of your preliminary questions, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Girdwood AK area and throughout Alaska, you’ll need to explore other qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college options. Also, you need to make sure that you select the college that is best for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are considering. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Find out if the programs you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As previously stated, 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 receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist program and school you select are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Contact several Girdwood AK physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your college selections. 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 filed against the colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two significant statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapy colleges you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once 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 Girdwood AK area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also verifies that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you choose furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the physical therapy schools you are assessing have associations with Girdwood AK hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Girdwood health care community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Girdwood AK home. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT schools offer some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and see what kind of help is obtainable. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. Some physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapy school you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Girdwood AK area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Girdwood Alaska?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Girdwood AK area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Girdwood is a resort town within the southern extent of the Municipality of Anchorage in the state of Alaska. Located near the end of the Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet, Girdwood lies in a valley in the southwestern Chugach Mountains, surrounded by seven glaciers feeding into a number of creeks, which either converge within the valley or empty directly into the arm. Girdwood is typically accessed by the Seward Highway (Milepost 90), with the main line of the Alaska Railroad paralleling the highway. By road distance, most of the community lies within 35 to 40 miles (56 to 64 km) of downtown Anchorage. According to 2014 estimates, a little under 2,000 people live in the valley.
Founded as a community to supply miners during the Turnagain Arm gold rushes of the 1890s, Girdwood was mostly a small, quiet place until the middle of the 20th century. Two events drastically altered that. The first was the establishment of Alyeska Resort along the slopes of Mount Alyeska, which became an international destination coincidental with Anchorage's civic promotion of itself as "The Air Crossroads of the World". The second was the 1964 earthquake, which devastated the original townsite located directly along the arm. Following the earthquake, most of the town moved further up the valley to a new townsite, though a few homes remained and a strip mall was later constructed along the Seward Highway. Historically dominated in the years since the resort's opening by seasonally-occupied vacation homes and seasonal activity at the resort, the opening of the Alyeska Prince Hotel during the 1990s has shifted the resort, and hence Girdwood as a whole, more towards year-round activity and a year-round economy. This has led to periodic debates about community growth and affordability of housing for resort workers, many of whom over the years have resorted to camping illegally on public lands.
Girdwood still revolves heavily around seasonal activity, with skiing and snowboarding at Alyeska Resort bringing visitors and their money into the community. Summer activities are also popular, which include hiking, fishing and rafting. The Girdwood Forest Fair, held every July, is the community's most significant visitor attraction apart from resort-related activities. Girdwood is located within the northernmost extent of rain forest on Earth, and also serves as the closest point of access to Chugach National Forest from Anchorage proper.
Accredited Physical Therapy Assistant Schools Girdwood AK
Choosing the right physical therapy school is a necessary first decision you need to make to begin a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you pick should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are additional important questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice as well. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Accredited Physical Therapy Assistant Schools. However, as you commence your search for a physical therapist program bear in mind that a number of variables will guide you to your final decision. You might decide to visit each of the colleges to see their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college 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 best selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Girdwood AK.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Alaska