How to Find the Right Physical Therapy Program near Fayette Alabama
Getting a physical therapist degree near Fayette AL is a critical first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled due to injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the proper education and training. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to investigate those you are considering to ensure they will furnish a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is select a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be considered in addition to cost and location. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in varying settings, such as Fayette AL private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they create a program of treatment to address the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Fire injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Fayette AL health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may 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 considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are 3 physical therapist degree options available for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the one degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degree levels that are available in the Fayette AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually provided by junior or community colleges, and require two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically part of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy education to prepare students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take four years to finish and often incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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 three years to complete, making the overall investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an essential component in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely 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 eliminated and is no longer offered 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 present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Programs
While not as prevalent as the more traditional options, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the course of study can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Fayette AL residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat lower than comparable on campus options, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding some of your preliminary questions, including the type of physical therapy degree you intend to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are so many PT schools within the Fayette AL area and across Alabama, you’ll have to research additional qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of college choices. Furthermore, you need to make sure that you select the college that is right for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are considering. Ask each of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Find out if the schools you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As previously stated, 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 school, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. 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 aid.
What is the College’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT college’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call several Fayette AL physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insight 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 filed against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two important statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapist programs you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, 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 Fayette AL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps excellent. It also verifies that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you enroll in provides both exceptional training and a curriculum 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 therapist program. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the physical therapist schools you are reviewing have relationships with Fayette AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Fayette healthcare community and assist with job placement once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Fayette AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT schools offer some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid office and find out what type of help is available. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapist program you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Fayette AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Fayette Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Fayette AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Originally known as "La Fayette", it incorporated on January 15, 1821. When Fayette County was created in 1824, the town's name was officially changed to "Fayette Court House", though it was also known as "Fayetteville", which was the name shown on maps and on the U.S. Census in 1880 and 1890. It was officially shortened to "Fayette" in 1898.
As of the census of 2000, there were 4,922 people, 2,092 households, and 1,303 families residing in the city. The population density was 575.1 people per square mile (222.0/km²). There were 2,336 housing units at an average density of 273.0 per square mile (105.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 75.34% White, 23.38% Black or African American, 0.12% Native American, 0.28% Asian, 0.30% from other races, and 0.57% from two or more races. One percent of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 2,092 households out of which 26.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.2% were married couples living together, 14.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.7% were non-families. 35.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.20 and the average family size was 2.85.
DPT Schools Fayette AL
Picking the best physical therapy college is an important first decision you need to make to launch a rewarding career in the healthcare profession. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you enroll in should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are other relevant questions that you should ask concerning your school of choice also. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on DPT Schools. However, as you begin your search for a physical therapy college bear in mind that numerous factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might decide to go to different campuses to see their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the ideal selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Fayette AL.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Alabama