How to Find the Right Physical Therapy Course near Huntsville Alabama
Earning a physical therapist degree near Huntsville AL is a critical first step to beginning a rewarding career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the proper training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, 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 important to research those you are considering to ensure they will supply a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is choose a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be evaluated besides 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 practice in varying settings, such as Huntsville AL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to address the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also try 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
- Heart attacks
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Fire injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Huntsville AL health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also manage several physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapist degree options available for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degree levels that are offered in the Huntsville AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are typically made available 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 curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist education to ready students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically require four years to complete and commonly incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to finish, making the total commitment 7 years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an important element along with the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not just for graduation but in some states for licensing as well.
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 available in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Programs
Although not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Huntsville AL residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition may be significantly lower than similar on campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
By now you most likely have come to decision regarding several of your initial questions, including the kind of physical therapy degree you want to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are so many PT schools within the Huntsville AL area and across Alabama, you’ll need to research additional qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college options. Also, you need to be sure that you pick the program that is ideal for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Find out if the programs you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. 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 program, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the school 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 refer their students to. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Call a few Huntsville AL physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your program options. It might also be a good idea to check with the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapy schools you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students left due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Huntsville AL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also confirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you choose provides both superior training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria 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) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapy colleges you are assessing have partnerships with Huntsville AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Huntsville health care community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Huntsville AL residence. Students who have opted 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 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 may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? The majority of DPT colleges supply some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Find out if the schools you are looking at have a financial assistance department and see what type of assistance is obtainable. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapy school you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Huntsville 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 credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Huntsville Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Huntsville AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Huntsville is a city in the Appalachian region of northern Alabama. It is the county seat of Madison County but extends west into neighboring Limestone County and south into Morgan County.
It was founded in 1805 and became an incorporated town in 1811. The city grew across nearby hills north of the Tennessee River, adding textile mills, then munitions factories, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and the United States Army Aviation and Missile Command nearby at the Redstone Arsenal. The National Trust for Historic Preservation named Huntsville to its "America's Dozen Distinctive Destinations for 2010" list.
The city's population was 180,105 in 2010, making it Alabama's fourth-largest city. Huntsville is the largest city in the five-county Huntsville-Decatur-Albertville, AL Combined Statistical Area. The Huntsville metropolitan area's population was 417,593 in 2010, making it the second most populous metropolitan area in the state. The Huntsville metro's population reached 462,693 by 2018.
Good Physical Therapy Schools Huntsville AL
Choosing the best physical therapy school is a necessary initial decision you must make to start a fulfilling career in the medical field. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you select should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are other important questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Good Physical Therapy Schools. However, as you commence your search for a physical therapy program keep in mind that numerous factors will lead you to your final decision. You might want to visit each of the schools to view their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the ideal choice. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Huntsville AL.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Alabama
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