How to Pick a Physical Therapy College near Petersburg 99833
Earning a physical therapist degree near Petersburg AK is an essential first step to launching a rewarding 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 may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the proper education and training. A PT must also become licensed in every state, many requiring 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 ensure they will furnish a quality education and meet 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 residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be considered along with location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists practice in varying settings, such as Petersburg AK hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a course of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also strive to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Petersburg AK medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone thinking about entering 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 3 physical therapist degree options offered for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief descriptions of degree levels that are offered in the Petersburg AK area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are usually provided by junior or community colleges, and require two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a component of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to prepare candidates to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they generally take 4 years to finish and often include an internship program of at least 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 complete, making the total investment of time 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an important element in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in some 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 USA. A number of 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 instituted.
Physical Therapist Programs Online
While not as common as the more traditional alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the program may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Petersburg AK residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition might be significantly lower than similar on-campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
By now you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning several of your preliminary queries, like the type of physical therapy degree you intend to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are so many PT schools within the Petersburg AK area and throughout Alaska, you’ll need to look into additional qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of school choices. Moreover, you want to make sure that you choose the program that is ideal for you. That’s why we have collected a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. 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 choose an online program, it may 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are a number of ways you can research a PT school’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact several Petersburg AK 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 Alaska Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapy programs you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Petersburg AK area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or even outstanding. It also verifies that the college has a large network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you choose furnishes both superior 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 required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the physical therapist programs you are evaluating have partnerships with Petersburg AK hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Petersburg medical community and assist with job placement once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapist school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Petersburg AK home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something 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 need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? The majority of DPT schools offer some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department and see what type of assistance is offered. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. Some physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial aid may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapist college you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Petersburg AK area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Petersburg Alaska?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Petersburg AK area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Petersburg (Tlingit: Gantiyaakw Séedi "Steamboat Channel") is a census-designated place (CDP) in Petersburg Borough, Alaska, United States. The population was 2,948 at the 2010 census, down from 3,224 in 2000.
The borough encompasses Petersburg and Kupreanof, plus mostly uninhabited areas stretching to the Canadian–American border and the southern boundary of the City and Borough of Juneau. While the city of Petersburg ceased to exist as a separate administrative entity (the borough assembly created a service area to assume operation of the former city's services), the tiny city of Kupreanof remains separate within the borough.
Tlingits from Kupreanof Island had long used a summer fish camp at the north end of Mitkof Island. Earlier cultures of indigenous people also used the island: remnants of fish traps and some petroglyphs have been carbon-dated back some 1,000 years.
Choose the Ideal Physical Therapy Training Program near Petersburg AK
Deciding on the best physical therapist program is an important first decision you have to make to start a gratifying career in the medical field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you choose should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. But there are additional relevant questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapy school, keep in mind that many factors will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You might want to go to each of the colleges to view their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical 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 ideal selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Petersburg AK.
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