How to Select the Right Physical Therapy School near Wasilla Alaska
Getting a physical therapy degree near Wasilla AK is an essential first step to launching a rewarding career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the necessary training and education. 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 important to research those you are considering to ensure they will supply a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be evaluated besides cost and location. But before we talk about 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 work in diverse settings, such as Wasilla AK private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to stop any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Fire injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Wasilla AK medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also manage several physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are three physical therapy degrees available for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is attainable 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 brief summaries of degree levels that are available in the Wasilla AK area:
- Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are usually provided by community or junior colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually part of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to prep candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically require 4 years to complete and commonly incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required in order to become a practicing licensed physical therapist. The degree program must also 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 commitment seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential element along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in a number of 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 phased out and is no longer attainable in the United States. A number of practicing physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Programs
While not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the program may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Wasilla AK residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition might be significantly lower than comparable on campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are minimized. 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 attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you most likely have come to decision concerning a few of your preliminary questions, including the type of physical therapist degree you intend to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Wasilla AK area and across Alaska, you’ll need to look into other qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of school options. Also, you need to make certain that you select the program that is right for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Ask if the schools you are reviewing have received 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 college, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several ways you can investigate a PT program’s reputation, beginning 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 organizations for their reviews as well. Call some Wasilla AK physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your school selections. It might also be prudent to contact the Alaska Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapy schools you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once 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 Wasilla AK area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps excellent. It also confirms that the school has a wide network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the school you choose provides both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing. 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 college. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the physical therapy programs you are evaluating have partnerships with Wasilla AK clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to get hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Wasilla health care community and assist with job placement after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing what the typical 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 decision. 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 School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Wasilla AK home. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically 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 Assistance Offered? Most DPT schools provide some form of financial support to their prospective students. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid office and see what type of help is obtainable. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college 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 program you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Wasilla 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 enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol 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 Wasilla Alaska?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Wasilla AK area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Wasilla is a city in Matanuska-Susitna Borough, United States and the sixth-largest city in Alaska. It is located on the northern point of Cook Inlet in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley of the southcentral part of the state. The city's population was 7,831 at the 2010 census, up from 5,469 in 2000. Estimates in 2016 put the population at roughly 9,748. Wasilla is the largest city in the borough and a part of the Anchorage metropolitan area, which had an estimated population of 396,142 in 2013.
Established at the intersection of the Alaska Railroad and Old Carle Wagon Road, the city prospered at the expense of the nearby mining town of Knik. Historically entrepreneurial, the economic base shifted in the 1970s from small-scale agriculture and recreation to support for workers employed in Anchorage or on Alaska's North Slope oilfields and related infrastructure. The George Parks Highway turned the town into a commuter suburb of Anchorage. Several state and federal agencies have offices in Wasilla, including the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and Divisions of Public Assistance, Social Services.
Wasilla gained international attention when Sarah Palin, who served as Mayor of Wasilla before her election as Governor of Alaska, was chosen by John McCain as his running mate for Vice President of the United States in the 2008 United States presidential election.
Universities For Physical Therapy Wasilla AK
Selecting the ideal physical therapy college is an important initial decision you must make to begin a gratifying career in the health care field. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you select should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are additional relevant questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice as well. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Universities For Physical Therapy. However, as you commence your search for a physical therapy program keep in mind that a number of factors will lead you to your final decision. You might decide to visit each of the campuses to view their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me reach my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Wasilla AK.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Alaska
Business Results 1 - 10 of 11