How to Enroll In a Physical Therapy School near Fairbanks 99701
Obtaining a physical therapy degree near Fairbanks AK is an essential first step to launching a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated as a result of illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the proper education and training. A PT must also become licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to investigate those you are looking at to make certain they will deliver a quality education and meet 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 cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be considered in addition to location and cost. 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 what the educational options are.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in varying locations, such as Fairbanks AK private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Fairbanks AK medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Offered
There are three physical therapist degrees available for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the only 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 readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief explanations of degree levels that are available in the Fairbanks AK area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are typically offered by junior or community colleges, and require 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 created as pre-physical therapy education to prep students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they generally take four years to finish and often 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 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 complete, making the overall investment of time seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential element along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in some states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer available in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Colleges
Although not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online portion of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Fairbanks AK home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition might be somewhat less than similar on campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you most likely have come to decision regarding some of your initial queries, such as the type of physical therapist degree you would like to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Fairbanks AK area and throughout Alaska, you’ll have to research additional qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Also, you want to make certain that you enroll in the college that is right for you. That’s why we have collected a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As previously mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you enroll in an online college, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy school and program you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can research a PT school’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact a few Fairbanks AK physical therapy centers or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your school selections. It may also be prudent to check with the Alaska Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two relevant statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students left due to dissatisfaction 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 program has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even excellent. It also affirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the program you choose provides both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria 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 fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapist schools you are assessing have associations with Fairbanks AK clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Fairbanks medical community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one 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 decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapist school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Fairbanks AK residence. Those who have decided to attend classes online 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 keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Support Offered? Most DPT schools supply some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are considering have a financial aid department and see what type of assistance is available. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. A number of physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapist school you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fairbanks AK area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree 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 Alma Mater.
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 fridge 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.
Enroll in the Right Physical Therapist Degree Program near Fairbanks AK
Selecting the best physical therapy school is an important initial decision you need to make to begin a rewarding career in the medical field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you pick should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. However there are other critical questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist school, bear in mind that numerous factors will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You may want to go to each of the campuses to see their facilities and talk with 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 supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the proper education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Fairbanks AK.
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