How to Pick the Right Physical Therapist Program near Clanton Alabama
Receiving a physical therapy degree near Clanton AL is an important first step to launching a rewarding career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled due to injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the appropriate training and education. A PT must also become licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s important to investigate the ones you are looking at to ensure they will furnish a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be evaluated along with location and cost. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists work in a variety of locations, including Clanton AL hospitals, health clinics, 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 mentioned, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they develop a course of treatment to address the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Fire injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Clanton AL medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Offered
There are 3 physical therapy degree options available for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short summaries of degrees that are available in the Clanton AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be 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 provided by community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually part of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist education to prepare students to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally require four years to finish and commonly incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required if you want 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 overall commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an essential component along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not only 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 eliminated and is no longer offered in the USA. A number of practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Colleges
While not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapist degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined 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 curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Clanton AL residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat lower than similar on campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
By now you most likely have made a decision regarding some of your initial queries, including the type of physical therapist degree you want to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the Clanton AL area and across Alabama, you’ll have to look into other qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college options. Furthermore, you want to make certain that you pick the program that is right for you. That’s why we have put together a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are considering. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Find out if the programs you are looking at have received accreditation from a national or a regional 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 may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with some Clanton AL physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your school selections. It might also be a good idea to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy colleges you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Clanton AL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even outstanding. It also verifies that the school has a large network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you select provides both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although 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 additional tests.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing have associations with Clanton AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Clanton health care community and assist with job placement once licensed.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Clanton AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes 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 keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally 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 Support Provided? Most DPT colleges provide some type of financial support to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are examining have a financial assistance department and see what type of help is obtainable. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapist school you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Clanton AL 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 have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Clanton Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Clanton AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Clanton is a city in Chilton County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Birmingham–Hoover–Cullman Combined Statistical Area. At the 2010 census the population was 8,619. The city is the county seat of Chilton County. Clanton is near the site of the geographic center of the U.S state of Alabama.
The town was founded by Alfred Baker in 1868, when Chilton County was formed. Prior to establishment in 1868, the Town of Clanton was known as the community of "Goose Pond". Baker County was renamed to Chilton County and the community of "Goose Pond" became the Town of Clanton. Clanton was named in honor of General James H. Clanton, a brigadier in the Confederate States Army, and was incorporated on April 23, 1873. Baker was also elected first mayor of the town.
Nearby Lay Lake Dam and Mitchell Dam became Alabama Power's first two dams in the state, bringing economic improvements to the area. Immigrants played a part in starting the county's peach industry more than a century ago. Today, the peach industry is the number one industry in Chilton County, not only bringing fame to the county, but also millions of dollars to the local economy. The city of Clanton constructed a water tower in the form of a peach in 1993, becoming a landmark for travelers along Interstate 65.
How To Be A Physical Therapist Clanton AL
Picking the right physical therapist program is a necessary first decision you have to make to begin a fulfilling career in the healthcare profession. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you select should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are additional important questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice also. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on How To Be A Physical Therapist. However, as you begin your search for a physical therapist program keep in mind that a number of variables will guide you to your ultimate decision. You might want to visit different colleges to view their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the right selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Clanton AL.
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