How to Choose the Right Physical Therapist School near Haleyville Alabama
Getting a physical therapy degree near Haleyville AL is an essential first step to beginning a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated as a result of injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the necessary education and training. A PT must also become licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to evaluate the ones you are looking at to ensure they will supply a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is enroll in a school just 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 cover 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 settings, including Haleyville 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 diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a program of treatment to address the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also strive to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest
- Sports injuries
- Burn injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Haleyville AL health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is quite 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 therapy degrees available for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief descriptions of degrees that are offered in the Haleyville AL area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are usually made available by community or junior colleges, and require 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally part of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist training to prep students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they normally require four years to finish and often include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to finish, making the overall commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential element in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Therefor 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 eliminated and is no longer offered in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Colleges
Although not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapy programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Haleyville AL home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat lower than similar on campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
At this point you most likely have come to decision regarding some of your preliminary queries, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Haleyville AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of school options. Moreover, you need to be sure that you select the college that is right for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Ask if the schools you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously 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 college, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT college’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact some Haleyville AL physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your college options. It may also be a good idea to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two important statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students left because of displeasure 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 Haleyville AL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even outstanding. It also affirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you enroll in furnishes both superior training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the physical therapy schools you are evaluating have partnerships with Haleyville AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Haleyville medical community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Haleyville AL home. Those who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to bear 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 be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? The majority of DPT colleges provide some type of financial aid to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are examining have a financial aid office and find out what type of help is obtainable. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapist college you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Haleyville AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Haleyville Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Haleyville AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Haleyville is a city in Winston and Marion counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. It incorporated on February 28, 1889. Most of the city is located in Winston County, with a small portion of the western limits entering Marion County. Haleyville was originally named Davis Cross Roads, having been established at the crossroads of Byler Road and the Illinois Central Railroad. At the 2010 census the population was 4,173, down slightly from 4,182 in 2000.
As of the census of 2000, there were 4,182 people, 1,815 households, and 1,148 families residing in the city. The population density was 563.9 people per square mile (217.6/km²). There were 2,061 housing units at an average density of 277.9 per square mile (107.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.81% White, 1.48% Black or African American, 0.17% Native American, 0.12% Asian, 2.68% from other races, and 0.74% from two or more races. 3.11% of the population were Latino of any race.
There were 1,815 households out of which 26.6% had children under the age of 52 living with them, 49.3% were married couples living together, 11.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.7% were non-families. 34.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.25 and the average family size was 2.87.
Colleges With Physical Therapy Programs Haleyville AL
Picking the best physical therapy college is an important first decision you must make to begin 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 accreditation. But there are additional critical questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice also. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Colleges With Physical Therapy Programs. However, as you start your search for a physical therapy college bear in mind that a number of factors will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You may want to go to each of the colleges to see their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the right choice. And with the proper training and education, you can achieve your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Haleyville AL.
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