How to Pick the Right Physical Therapy Training Program near Selma Alabama
Getting a physical therapist degree near Selma AL is an essential first step to launching a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated 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 obtain the necessary education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to investigate those you are looking at to make certain they will furnish a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. 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 must be considered 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 work in a variety of locations, including Selma AL private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. 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 illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also strive to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks
- Sports injuries
- Fire injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Selma AL health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapy degrees offered for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short explanations of degrees that are offered in the Selma AL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are most often made available by community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to ready students to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they normally require four years to finish and usually include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required 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 total commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential component in addition to the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment 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 eliminated and is no longer offered in the United States. A number of practicing physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Degrees Online
Although not as prevalent as the more traditional alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online part of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Selma AL home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition might be significantly lower than similar on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
By now you probably have made a decision regarding some of your preliminary queries, including the type of physical therapist degree you intend to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Selma AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll need to explore other qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Moreover, you want to be sure that you choose the college that is best for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions before making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Find out if the schools you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As previously stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you enroll in an online school, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can investigate a PT school’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact several Selma 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 college options. It may also be a good idea to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two significant statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Selma AL area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also verifies that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the program you select furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While 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 Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapist colleges you are assessing have associations with Selma AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to receive practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help students and graduates form professional relationships in the Selma health care community and help with job placement after licensing.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Selma AL home. Individuals who have opted 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 importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Most DPT schools supply some type of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are looking at have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of assistance is offered. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. Some physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapy school you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Selma AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Selma Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Selma AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Selma is a city in and the county seat of Dallas County, in the Black Belt region of south central Alabama and extending to the west. Located on the banks of the Alabama River, the city has a population of 20,756 as of the 2010 census. About 80% of the population is African-American.
Selma was a trading center and market town during the antebellum years of King Cotton in the South. It was also an important armaments manufacturing and iron shipbuilding center for the Confederacy during the Civil War, surrounded by miles of earthen fortifications. The Confederate forces were defeated during the Battle of Selma.
The city is best known for the 1960s Selma Voting Rights Movement and the Selma to Montgomery marches, beginning with "Bloody Sunday" in March 1965 and ending with 25,000 people entering Montgomery at the end of the last march to press for voting rights. This activism generated national attention to social justice and that summer, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed by Congress to authorize federal oversight and enforcement of constitutional rights of all citizens.
School PTA Selma AL
Deciding on the ideal physical therapy college 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 DPT or PT degree program and college you select should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are other relevant questions that you should ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on School PTA. However, as you start your search for a physical therapy school bear in mind that a number of variables will lead you to your ultimate decision. You may want to visit different campuses to view their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college 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 field so you can make the best choice. And with the proper education and training, you can accomplish your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Selma AL.
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