How to Choose a Physical Therapist Training Program near Tucson 85701
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Tucson AZ is an important first step to starting a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated due to injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research the ones you are considering to ensure they will provide a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is select 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 need to be considered along with location and cost. But before we discuss 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 Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists work in varying settings, such as Tucson 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 previously mentioned, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also strive to stop any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Tucson AZ health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapy degrees offered for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are brief explanations of degrees that are offered in the Tucson AZ area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically made available by junior or community colleges, and require two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist education to prepare students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take four years to finish and usually include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required if you want to become a licensed practicing 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 total investment of time seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential element in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not just for graduation but in several states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer offered in the USA. A number of practicing physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Colleges Online
Although not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy programs available, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online part of the program may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Tucson AZ residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition might be significantly lower than comparable on campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
At this point you most likely have come to decision concerning several of your initial queries, like the type of physical therapist degree you intend to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Tucson AZ area and throughout Arizona, you’ll need to explore additional qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of school choices. Furthermore, you need to make sure that you choose the program that is right for you. That’s why we have put together a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Find out if the programs you are considering have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As earlier mentioned, 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 school, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides ensuring 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 imperative that the school and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Contact a few Tucson AZ physical therapy centers or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your program options. It might also be a good idea to contact the Arizona Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might mean that students left because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Tucson AZ area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or even exceptional. It also confirms that the school has a large network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you choose provides both excellent training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapist schools you are reviewing have relationships with Tucson AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may help students and graduates form professional connections in the Tucson health care community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Tucson AZ home. 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 area internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Support Offered? Most DPT colleges offer some form of financial aid to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are considering have a financial aid department and find out what kind of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapist college you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Tucson AZ area, verify that they are available. 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 need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Tucson Arizona?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Tucson AZ area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Tucson (/ˈtuːsɒn, tuːˈsɒn/) is a city and the county seat of Pima County, Arizona, United States, and home to the University of Arizona. The 2010 United States Census put the population at 520,116, while the 2015 estimated population of the entire Tucson metropolitan statistical area (MSA) was 980,263. The Tucson MSA forms part of the larger Tucson-Nogales combined statistical area (CSA), with a total population of 1,010,025 as of the 2010 Census. Tucson is the second-largest populated city in Arizona behind Phoenix, both of which anchor the Arizona Sun Corridor. The city is located 108 miles (174 km) southeast of Phoenix and 60 mi (97 km) north of the U.S.–Mexico border. Tucson is the 33rd largest city and the 58th largest metropolitan area in the United States (2014).
Major incorporated suburbs of Tucson include Oro Valley and Marana northwest of the city, Sahuarita south of the city, and South Tucson in an enclave south of downtown. Communities in the vicinity of Tucson (some within or overlapping the city limits) include Casas Adobes, Catalina Foothills, Flowing Wells, Midvale Park, Tanque Verde, Tortolita, and Vail. Towns outside the Tucson metro area include Benson to the southeast, Catalina and Oracle to the north, and Green Valley to the south.
The Spanish name of the city, Tucsón [tukˈson], is derived from the O'odham Cuk Ṣon [tʃʊk ʂɔːn], meaning "(at the) base of the black [hill]", a reference to a basalt-covered hill now known as Sentinel Peak, also known as "A" Mountain. Tucson is sometimes referred to as "The Old Pueblo".
Enroll in the Best Physical Therapist Training Program near Tucson AZ
Choosing the best physical therapist program is a necessary first decision you need to make to start a gratifying career in the health care profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you select should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. But there are additional critical questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapist program, bear in mind that a number of factors will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You may want to visit different colleges to see their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the right choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Tucson AZ.
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