How to Choose a Physical Therapist Program near Sun City 85351
Obtaining a physical therapy degree near Sun City AZ is an important first step to launching a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated due to injury or illness regain 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 be licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to research the ones you are thinking about to ensure they will provide a quality education and meet your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is select a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be considered besides 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 Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of locations, such as Sun City AZ hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a program of treatment to address the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Sun City AZ health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapy degree options offered for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, 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 prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degree levels that are available in the Sun City AZ area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are most often made available by junior or community colleges, and require 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a component of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist education to ready students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take 4 years to finish and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required in order 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 three years to finish, making the overall investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an important component in addition to the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not just 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 USA. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Colleges Online
Although not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapist programs offered, 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 requires that the student live near the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online segment of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Sun City AZ residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat lower than similar on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding several of your initial questions, including the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Sun City AZ area and across Arizona, you’ll need to look into additional qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of college choices. Furthermore, you need to make sure that you pick the college that is best for you. That’s why we have collected a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As earlier 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 college, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy school and program you select are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can research a PT college’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact a few Sun City AZ physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your school options. It may also be prudent to contact the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two important statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapist programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Sun City AZ area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps excellent. It also confirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment after graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the program you choose provides both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing have associations with Sun City AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional connections in the Sun City healthcare community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Sun City AZ home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Support Offered? Most DPT colleges supply some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid office and see what kind of help is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapist college you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Sun City AZ area, make certain 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 carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Sun City Arizona?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Sun City AZ area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Sun City, Arizona
Sun City is a census-designated place and unincorporated community in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States, that is within the Phoenix metropolitan area. The population was 37,499 according to the 2010 census. Its adjoining sister city is Sun City West. Both cities are retirement communities popular with snowbirds.
Sun City was opened January 1, 1960, with five home models, a shopping center, a recreation center, and a golf course. The opening weekend drew 100,000 people, ten times more than expected, and resulted in a Time magazine cover story. The future retirement community was built on the site of the former ghost town of Marinette. Developer Del E. Webb expanded Sun City over the years, and his company went on to build other retirement communities in the Sun Belt. Sun City West was built in the late 1970s, Sun City Grand in the late 1990s, Sun City Anthem in 1999, and Sun City Festival in July 2006.
The community is well known to law students, as it is featured in the case Spur Industries v. Del E. Webb Development Co., 494 P.2d 700 (Ariz. 1972), commonly used in first-year property law courses to illustrate nuisance law.
Choose the Best Physical Therapist Training Program near Sun City AZ
Choosing the ideal physical therapist school is a necessary initial decision you must make to launch a fulfilling career in the medical profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you pick should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. However there are additional critical questions that you should ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapy program, bear in mind that numerous variables will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You might want to visit different campuses to see their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me achieve my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the right selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Sun City AZ.
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