How to Find the Right Physical Therapist College near Montgomery Alabama
Getting a physical therapist degree near Montgomery AL is an essential first step to launching a rewarding career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated due to illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to investigate those you are considering to ensure they will deliver a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college just 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 evaluated besides cost and location. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists practice in diverse locations, such as Montgomery AL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a course of treatment to address the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries
- Cardiac arrest
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Burn injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Montgomery AL medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Available
There are three physical therapist degrees offered for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief explanations of degree levels that are available in the Montgomery AL area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are most often made available by community colleges, and require two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically part of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy training to prepare candidates to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they normally require 4 years to complete and commonly include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement in order to become a practicing licensed physical therapist. The degree program also must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to finish, making the total commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal component along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in several states for licensing also.
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 offered in the United States. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Colleges
While not as prevalent as the more traditional alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online part of the curriculum can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Montgomery AL home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition may be somewhat lower than comparable on campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
At this point you probably have made a decision concerning several of your preliminary queries, like the type of physical therapy degree you want to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Montgomery AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Moreover, you want to make sure that you enroll in the program that is best for you. That’s why we have collected a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist Program 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 enroll in an online college, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy school and program you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Contact a few Montgomery AL physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your school selections. It might 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 schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of useful statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapy colleges you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students left due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Montgomery AL area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even outstanding. It also confirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you choose provides both superior training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the physical therapist schools you are reviewing have partnerships with Montgomery AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Montgomery healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Montgomery AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Most DPT schools supply some type of financial aid to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance office and see what kind of assistance is available. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapist program you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Montgomery AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out 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 Montgomery Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Montgomery AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Montgomery is the capital city of the U.S. state of Alabama and the county seat of Montgomery County. Named for Richard Montgomery, it stands beside the Alabama River, on the coastal Plain of the Gulf of Mexico. In the 2010 Census, Montgomery's population was 205,764. It is the second most populous city in Alabama, after Birmingham, and is the 118th most populous in the United States. The Montgomery Metropolitan Statistical Area's population in 2010 was estimated at 374,536; it is the fourth largest in the state and 136th among United States metropolitan areas.
The city was incorporated in 1819 as a merger of two towns situated along the Alabama River. It became the state capital in 1846, representing the shift of power to the south-central area of Alabama with the growth of cotton as a commodity crop of the Black Belt and the rise of Mobile as a mercantile port on the Gulf Coast. In February 1861, Montgomery was chosen the first capital of the Confederate States of America, which it remained until the Confederate seat of government moved to Richmond, Virginia, in May of that year. In the middle of the 20th century, Montgomery was a major center of events and protests in the Civil Rights Movement, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Selma to Montgomery marches.
In addition to housing many Alabama government agencies, Montgomery has a large military presence, due to Maxwell Air Force Base; public universities Alabama State University, Troy University (Montgomery campus), and Auburn University at Montgomery; two private post-secondary institutions, Faulkner University and Huntingdon College; high-tech manufacturing, including Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama; and many cultural attractions, such as the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.
Doctor Of Physical Therapy Schools Montgomery AL
Choosing the ideal physical therapy school is a necessary initial decision you have to make to start a fulfilling career in the health care profession. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you enroll in should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. 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 Doctor Of Physical Therapy Schools. However, as you commence your search for a physical therapist school bear in mind that a number of factors will lead you toward your final 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 program help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the right selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can achieve your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Montgomery AL.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Alabama
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