How to Pick the Right Physical Therapist Program near Paradise Valley Arizona
Earning a physical therapy degree near Paradise Valley AZ is a critical first step to launching a rewarding career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people 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 receive the appropriate training and education. A PT must also become licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate the ones you are thinking about to make certain they will provide a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is select a school just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be evaluated in addition to location and cost. 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 varying settings, including Paradise Valley AZ hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries
- Cardiac arrest
- Sports injuries
- Fire injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Paradise Valley AZ health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also supervise several 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 field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapy degree options available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief descriptions of degrees that are available in the Paradise Valley AZ area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are typically offered by community colleges, and require two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically part of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist education to ready candidates to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they typically require four years to finish and often include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement if you want 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 three years to finish, making the total commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal element in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not just 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 eliminated and is no longer offered in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Schools
Although not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees available, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature 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 in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Paradise Valley AZ residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat lower than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning a few of your preliminary questions, like the kind of physical therapy degree you intend to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the Paradise Valley AZ area and throughout Arizona, you’ll need to research additional qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of school choices. Furthermore, you need to make certain that you select the college that is ideal for you. That’s why we have put together a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Ask if the programs you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national 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 select an online program, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Call several Paradise Valley AZ physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your school options. It might also be prudent to check with the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two important statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Paradise Valley AZ area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even exceptional. It also verifies that the college has a large network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the college you enroll in furnishes both exceptional training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the physical therapist programs you are interested in have partnerships with Paradise Valley AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent 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 supplemental benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Paradise Valley health care 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 get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Paradise Valley AZ home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local 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 perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Support Offered? Most DPT schools offer some form of financial aid to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid office and see what type of help is offered. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapy school you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Paradise Valley AZ area, make sure 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 carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Paradise Valley Arizona?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Paradise Valley AZ area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Paradise Valley, Arizona
Paradise Valley is a small, affluent town in Maricopa County, Arizona. It is the wealthiest municipality in Arizona. The town is known for its luxury golf courses, shopping, and restaurant scene. According to the 2010 census, the population of the town was 12,820. Despite the town's relatively small area and population compared to other municipalities in the Phoenix metropolitan area, Paradise Valley is home to eight full-service resorts, making it one of Arizona's premier tourist destinations. It is also known for expensive real estate.
It should not be confused with Paradise Valley Village, an official municipal designation, in northeast Phoenix. For instance, Paradise Valley Community College, Paradise Valley High School, Paradise Valley Hospital, Paradise Valley Mall, and Paradise Valley Golf Course are all located several miles to the north of the town, in Phoenix. The town's name along with all the other various entities bearing the same name comes from the expansive area known as Paradise Valley, that spreads from north of the Phoenix Mountains to Cave Creek and Carefree on the north and the McDowell Mountains to the east.
The Paradise Valley Unified School District is one of the largest in the state, though like many other institutions with the name Paradise Valley, it refers to the Phoenix village, and not to the town.
Physical Therapist College Degree Paradise Valley AZ
Choosing the ideal physical therapy program is an important first decision you must make to launch a rewarding career in the health care profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you enroll in should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are other important questions that you should ask concerning your school of choice also. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Physical Therapist College Degree. However, as you start your search for a physical therapy college bear in mind that numerous factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might decide to go to different schools to see their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the right choice. And with the proper education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Paradise Valley AZ.
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