How to Select the Right Physical Therapy College near Newton Alabama
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Newton AL is an essential first step to launching a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated due to illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the appropriate training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate those you are looking at to make sure they will furnish a superior education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is enroll in a school just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be considered in addition to cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of settings, including Newton 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 mentioned, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a program of treatment to address the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Burn injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Newton AL health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to bear 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 Therapist Degrees Offered
There are 3 physical therapy degrees available for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degrees that are available in the Newton 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 obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are usually provided by community or junior colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a portion of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to prepare students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally take 4 years to finish and usually include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated in order to become a licensed practicing 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 three years to complete, making the overall investment of time 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential component along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, 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 USA. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Programs
While not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Newton AL home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition might be significantly less than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
By now you most likely have come to decision regarding several of your initial queries, such as 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 so many PT colleges within the Newton AL area and across Alabama, you’ll have to look into other qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of school options. Moreover, you want to make sure that you select the college that is best for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are considering. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Find out if the programs you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously 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 may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call some Newton AL physical therapy clinics or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your program 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 schools.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist colleges you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Newton AL area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps excellent. It also affirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you enroll in furnishes both superior training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be working. 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 school. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapy schools you are interested in have associations with Newton AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Newton medical community and help with job placement after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Newton AL residence. Individuals 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 concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Support Provided? The majority of DPT schools provide some form of financial aid to their potential students. Find out if the colleges you are considering have a financial assistance department and see what type of aid is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapist program you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Newton AL area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Newton Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Newton AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
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Best Physical Therapy Colleges Newton AL
Selecting the best physical therapist college is a necessary initial decision you need to make to start a rewarding career in the healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you pick should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are other important questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice also. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Best Physical Therapy Colleges. However, as you begin your search for a physical therapy program bear in mind that many variables will guide you to your final decision. You may want to visit each of the colleges to see their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the proper training and education, you can accomplish your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Newton AL.
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