How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapist College near Albertville Alabama
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Albertville AL is a critical first step to launching a fulfilling career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated due to illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the proper training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research those you are thinking about to make certain they will deliver a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is select a college just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be considered along with location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of locations, including Albertville AL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to address the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries
- Cardiac arrest
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Fire injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Albertville AL medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapy degree options available for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degrees that are offered in the Albertville AL area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually provided by community or junior colleges, and require two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a component of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist education to ready candidates to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally require four years to finish and usually 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 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 overall commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal component in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not solely 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 offered in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Programs Online
Although not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees available, even more 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 college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Albertville AL residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition can be somewhat lower than comparable 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 benefits may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning some of your initial questions, including the type of physical therapy degree you intend to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Albertville AL area and across Alabama, you’ll have to explore additional qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of school options. Moreover, you want to make sure that you pick the program that is right for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are reviewing 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 college, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several ways you can research a PT school’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call some Albertville AL physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your program options. 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 two important statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapy schools you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Albertville AL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps excellent. It also verifies that the college has a wide network of contacts to help students get internships or employment after graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college 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 practicing. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are interested in have partnerships with Albertville AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Albertville health care community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist school they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Albertville AL home. Students who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? Most DPT colleges offer some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and see what kind of aid is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapy program you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Albertville AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Albertville Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Albertville AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
The area which today includes Albertville was inhabited by the Cherokee Indians until their removal to Oklahoma in the 1830s. It was, however, near the territory of the Creek nation, and several major trails which afforded communication (or military action) between the two nations crossed the area. It is believed to have been crossed by Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto during his expeditions in 1540.
The first non-indigenous settlement in what is today Albertville began in the 1850s, and the settlement was named for Thomas A. Albert, an early settler who moved from Georgia and was a town leader until his death in 1876. The city was incorporated in 1891. A post office was established in 1910.
At about 4:10 p.m. on April 24, 1908, the city was virtually wiped out by a tornado that became commonly called "The Great Cyclone," or "The Cyclone of 1908." The storm is believed to have killed 35 people across northeastern Alabama, including 15 in Albertville. Relief was largely delivered by railroad, particularly from the nearby city of Gadsden. Trains from Gadsden transported doctors, nurses, and the Queen City Guards, the Alabama militia company based in Gadsden. The commander of the latter, future Gadsden mayor and Col. R.A. Mitchell, reported in a dispatch to Governor B.B. Comer:
Physical Therapist Degree Albertville AL
Choosing the right physical therapy college is an important initial decision you have to make to begin a fulfilling career in the medical field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you select should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are other relevant 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 Physical Therapist Degree. However, as you begin your search for a physical therapist program bear in mind that numerous variables will lead you to your final decision. You may want to visit each of the campuses to view their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me realize 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 best selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Albertville AL.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Alabama