How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapy Program near Cottonwood Alabama
Receiving a physical therapy degree near Cottonwood AL is a critical first step to launching a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated as a result of injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the proper education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research the ones you are looking at to ensure they will supply a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is choose a college just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be considered in addition to location and cost. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists work in a variety of locations, such as Cottonwood AL private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they create a program of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Burn injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Cottonwood AL health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are three physical therapist degree options offered for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief explanations of degree levels that are offered in the Cottonwood AL area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are usually made available by community or junior colleges, and require two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a component of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy education to ready candidates to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take four years to finish and often include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to finish, making the total investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an intregal element in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in some states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer offered in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Schools Online
While not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Cottonwood AL residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition may be significantly less than comparable on campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding some of your initial queries, like the type of physical therapist degree you would like to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Cottonwood AL area and across Alabama, you’ll have to look into other qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Furthermore, you want to make sure that you select the college that is ideal for you. That’s why we have collected a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Ask if the schools you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a national or a regional 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 select an online college, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapist program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact several Cottonwood AL physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your college selections. It may also be a good idea to check with the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of useful statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Cottonwood AL area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also verifies that the school has a wide network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the program you enroll in furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements 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 program. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the physical therapy programs you are interested in have partnerships with Cottonwood AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Cottonwood healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Cottonwood AL home. Those who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? Most DPT schools offer some type of financial aid to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at have a financial aid department and see what type of aid is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapist school you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Cottonwood AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Cottonwood Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Cottonwood AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Cottonwood is a town in Houston County, Alabama, United States. One source said the town incorporated in 1901, although the 1910 U.S. Census stated 1903. It is part of the Dothan, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. At the 2010 census the population was 1,289, up from 1,170 in 2000.
Cottonwood is located in southern Houston County at 31°3′13″N 85°18′9″W / 31.05361°N 85.30250°W / 31.05361; -85.30250 (31.053646, -85.302409).Alabama State Route 53 passes through the center of town, leading north 14 miles (23 km) to Dothan and southeast 7 miles (11 km) to the Florida state line. Malone, Florida, is 11 miles (18 km) southeast of Cottonwood.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,170 people, 485 households, and 323 families residing in the town. The population density was 212.9 people per square mile (82.1/km2). There were 548 housing units at an average density of 99.7 per square mile (38.5/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 69.06% White, 29.06% Black or African American, 0.68% Native American, and 1.20% from two or more races. 1.97% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Colleges For Physical Therapy Cottonwood AL
Picking the right physical therapist college is a necessary first decision you have to make to begin a gratifying career in the healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you choose should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are other important questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice also. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Colleges For Physical Therapy. However, as you commence your search for a physical therapy school keep in mind that numerous variables will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You might decide to visit different colleges to view their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college 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 options so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Cottonwood AL.
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