How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapist Training Program near Dothan Alabama
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Dothan AL is an important first step to launching a rewarding career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated due to illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the necessary training and education. A PT must also become licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to investigate those you are considering to ensure they will furnish a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is choose a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be evaluated along with cost and location. But before we cover what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of locations, such as Dothan 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 diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also try to prevent any progression 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
- Knee Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Dothan AL medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Available
There are three physical therapist degree options offered for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are brief descriptions of degree levels that are offered in the Dothan AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often offered by junior or community 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 created as pre-physical therapist training to prep students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they normally take 4 years to finish and often incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to complete, making the total commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an important element along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in several 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 available in the United States. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Programs Online
Although not as prevalent as the on-campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online part of the course of study can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Dothan AL residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition might be significantly lower than comparable on campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you most likely have made a decision regarding a few of your preliminary queries, like the kind of physical therapy degree you want to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the Dothan AL area and across Alabama, you’ll have to research additional qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of school options. Also, you want to be sure that you choose the school that is right for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are considering. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Find out if the schools you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. 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 school, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call a few Dothan AL physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your program selections. It might 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 schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of useful statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Dothan 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 exceptional. It also affirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students get internships or employment after graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the college you choose provides both exceptional training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria 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 therapist college. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapy programs you are assessing have associations with Dothan AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to obtain 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 assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Dothan healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment 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 get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few 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 school they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Dothan AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might 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 don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT colleges offer some type of financial aid to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are examining have a financial assistance department and see what kind of aid is offered. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist college you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Dothan AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Dothan Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Dothan AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Dothan /ˈdoʊθən/ is a city in Dale, Henry, and Houston counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. It is the county seat of Houston County and the seventh largest city in Alabama, with a population of 65,496 at the 2010 census. It is near the state's southeastern corner, approximately 20 miles (32 km) west of the Georgia state line and 16 miles (26 km) north of Florida. It is named after the biblical city, the place where Joseph's brothers threw him into a cistern and sold him into slavery in Egypt.
Dothan is the principal city of the Dothan, Alabama metropolitan area, which encompasses all of Geneva, Henry, and Houston counties; the small portion in Dale County is part of the Ozark Micropolitan Statistical Area. The combined population of the entire Dothan metropolitan area in 2010 was 145,639. The city serves as the main transportation and commercial hub for a significant part of southeastern Alabama, southwest Georgia, and nearby portions of the Florida Panhandle. Since approximately one-fourth of the U.S. peanut crop is produced nearby, much of it processed in the city, Dothan is known as "The Peanut Capital of the World". It also hosts the annual National Peanut Festival at the dedicated "Peanut Festival Fairgrounds".
The area that is now Dothan was inhabited for thousands of years by successive cultures of indigenous peoples. In historic times it was occupied by the Alabama and Creek Native American tribes who were hunters and gatherers in the vast forests of pine that covered this region. These tribes had developed complex cultures, and often used to meet and camp for trading near a large spring at the crossroads of two trails.
Best Schools For Physical Therapy Dothan AL
Picking the right physical therapist program is a necessary first decision you need to make to begin a fulfilling career in the health care field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you decide on should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are other critical questions that you need to ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Best Schools For Physical Therapy. However, as you begin your search for a physical therapy college keep in mind that numerous factors will guide you to your final decision. You might want to go to each of the campuses to see their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me achieve my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the best selection. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Dothan AL.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Alabama
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