How to Choose the Right Physical Therapy College near Montevallo Alabama
Receiving a physical therapy degree near Montevallo AL is an essential first step to beginning a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated 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 get the appropriate training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate those you are looking at to make sure they will provide a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is select a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be considered besides location and cost. But before we cover 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 locations, such as Montevallo AL private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems 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 numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest
- Sports injuries
- Fire injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Montevallo AL health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering entering 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 Degrees Available
There are three physical therapy degree options offered for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is attainable to become 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 short summaries of degree levels that are offered in the Montevallo AL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are usually offered by community or junior colleges, and require 2 years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy training to prep students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they generally require four years to finish and often 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 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 complete, making the overall investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential component in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in a number of 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 eliminated and is no longer available in the USA. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Schools
Although not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online portion of the program may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Montevallo AL residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition might be significantly lower than similar on campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you most likely have come to decision concerning a few of your initial questions, including the kind of physical therapy degree you want to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the Montevallo AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll need to explore additional qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of college choices. Also, you need to make sure that you choose the school that is ideal for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist programs you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Ask if the programs you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As earlier stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online school, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist school and program you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT program’s reputation, beginning 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 agencies for their reviews also. Contact several Montevallo AL physical therapy clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your school selections. 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 couple of important statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapist schools you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students left because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Montevallo AL area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also confirms that the program has a large network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you select furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are assessing have associations with Montevallo AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Montevallo health care community and assist with job placement after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Montevallo AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have 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 live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT colleges offer some form of financial support to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are considering have a financial aid department and find out what type of aid is offered. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapy college you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Montevallo AL area, confirm 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 enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Montevallo Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Montevallo AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Montevallo is a city in Shelby County, Alabama, United States. A college town, it is the home of the University of Montevallo, a public liberal arts university with approximately 3,000 students. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city of Montevallo is 6,323. Dr. Hollie Campbell Cost, a professor in the College of Education at the University of Montevallo, serves as Mayor.
Montevallo is located at 33°6′18″N 86°51′46″W / 33.10500°N 86.86278°W / 33.10500; -86.86278 (33.1049, -86.8628). A plaque on Reynolds Cemetery Road, just off Alabama State Route 25, in the eastern corner of the town, marks the geographic center of the state of Alabama. Middle Street, formerly known as Main Street, had its name changed in 1899 for this reason, upon the completion of a new state survey.
The area where Montevallo is now was once controlled by the Creek Indians. After being acquired in 1814 Jesse Wilson claimed a small hill on the northern bank of the Shoal Creek and created a homestead there, making it the oldest settlement in Shelby County. Wilson's friends and family followed afterwards and also settled in the area, and a settlement known as Wilson's Hill developed on the site. The settlement's location at almost the exact center of Alabama meant it was considered one of the potential sites for the University of Alabama. In an attempt to encourage the university to choose the site the settlement changed its name to Montevallo, which is Italian for the hill in the valley.
How Many Years Of School To Be A Physical Therapist Montevallo AL
Picking the best physical therapist program is a necessary initial decision you need to make to launch a gratifying career in the health care field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you select should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. However there are additional critical questions that you need to ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on How Many Years Of School To Be A Physical Therapist. However, as you begin your search for a physical therapist college keep in mind that many factors will guide you toward your final decision. You may decide to go to each of the colleges to see their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the right choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Montevallo AL.
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