How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapy College near Mesa Arizona
Obtaining a physical therapy degree near Mesa AZ is an important first step to beginning a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled as a result of injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the necessary training and education. A PT must also become licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate the ones you are looking at to make sure they will supply a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is select a college just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be considered along with cost and location. 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 is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of settings, such as Mesa AZ 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 earlier mentioned, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a course of treatment to address the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also strive to stop any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Burn injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Mesa AZ health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Offered
There are 3 physical therapy degrees available for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degree levels that are offered in the Mesa AZ area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically made available by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a portion of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy education to ready students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically require four years to complete and usually incorporate 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 3 years to complete, making the total commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential component along with the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in a number of states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer attainable in the USA. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Colleges
While not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to 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 college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Mesa AZ residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition might be significantly less than similar on-campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
By now you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding some of your preliminary questions, including the type of physical therapy degree you want to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Mesa AZ area and throughout Arizona, you’ll have to explore other qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school choices. Furthermore, you need to make sure that you pick the college that is right for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Find out if the programs you are looking at 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 may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can research a PT college’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact a few Mesa AZ physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your program selections. It might also be a good idea to check with the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist schools you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students left due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Mesa AZ area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps excellent. It also verifies that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you choose provides both exceptional training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements for Arizona 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 college. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapist colleges you are assessing have relationships with Mesa AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional connections in the Mesa medical community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. 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 talk with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Mesa AZ residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps 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 usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Support Provided? The majority of DPT schools supply some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Find out if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid office and find out what type of help is obtainable. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. A number of physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapist college you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Mesa AZ area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check 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 because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Mesa Arizona?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Mesa AZ area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Mesa (/ˈmeɪsə/ MAY-sə) is a city in Maricopa County, in the U.S. state of Arizona. It is a suburb located about 20 miles (32 km) east of Phoenix. Mesa is the central city of the East Valley section of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. It is bordered by Tempe on the west, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community on the north, Chandler and Gilbert on the south along with Queen Creek, and Apache Junction on the east.
Mesa is the third-largest city in Arizona, after Phoenix and Tucson, and the 36th-largest city in the US. The city is home to 439,041 people as of 2010 according to the Census Bureau. Mesa is home to numerous higher education facilities including the Polytechnic campus of Arizona State University.
The history of Mesa dates back at least 2,000 years to the arrival of the Hohokam people. The Hohokam, whose name means "All Used Up" or "The Departed Ones", built the original canal system. The canals were the largest and most sophisticated in the prehistoric New World. Some were up to 90 feet (27 m) wide and 10 feet (3.0 m) deep at their head gates, extending for as far as 16 miles (26 km) across the desert. By A.D. 1100 water could be delivered to an area over 110,000 acres (450 km2), transforming the Sonoran Desert into an agricultural oasis. By A.D. 1450, the Hohokam had constructed hundreds of miles of canals many of which are still in use today.
Doctorate Physical Therapy Programs Mesa AZ
Picking the best physical therapist school is an important first decision you have to make to launch a rewarding career in the health care field. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you pick should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. But there are additional relevant questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice also. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Doctorate Physical Therapy Programs. However, as you begin your search for a physical therapist college keep in mind that many factors will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You may want 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 school help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the ideal selection. And with the proper training and education, you can accomplish your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Mesa AZ.
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