How to Choose the Right Physical Therapist College near Huxford Alabama
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Huxford AL is an important first step to starting a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated due to illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the proper training and education. A PT must also become licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate the ones you are thinking about to make certain they will furnish a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is choose a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be considered besides location and cost. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of locations, such as Huxford AL private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain due to 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 stop any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries
- Heart attacks
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Fire injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Huxford AL medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapy degree options available for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degrees that are offered in the Huxford AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are typically made available by community or junior 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 therapist education to prep candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they generally take 4 years to complete and often include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required in order to become a practicing licensed 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 three years to complete, making the overall investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal component in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in several states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer available in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Colleges
Although not as prevalent as the on-campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees available, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Huxford AL residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition may be somewhat less than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
By now you most likely have made a decision regarding a few of your preliminary questions, like the type of physical therapy degree you want to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the Huxford AL area and across Alabama, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of school choices. Furthermore, you want to make sure that you choose the school that is best for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing schools these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Ask if the schools you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. 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 can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing 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 School’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several ways you can research a PT college’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call a few Huxford AL physical therapy clinics or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your school options. 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 submitted against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean 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 support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Huxford AL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or even excellent. It also verifies that the school has a wide network of contacts to help students get internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the program you select provides both exceptional training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the physical therapy programs you are reviewing have associations with Huxford AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Huxford health care community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they select will need to be within driving distance of their Huxford AL home. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required 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 Help Offered? Most DPT colleges provide some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance department and see what kind of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapy college you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Huxford AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Huxford Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Huxford AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Escambia County, Alabama
Historic American Indian tribes in the area included the Muskogean-speaking Creek, Choctaw, and Alabama, who had inhabited the lands for centuries and had many settlements. The former two tribes were among those in the Southeast whom the European-American settlers called the Five Civilized Tribes, as they adopted some European-American cultural ways in an attempt to survive alongside the encroachment of settlers moving into the area in the early nineteenth century. Most of these peoples were removed by United States forces in the 1830s to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River.
The state made land grants to European Americans, who developed the land as large cotton plantations, based on slave labor by African Americans. Some Creek remained in the area. At the time, they were required to renounce their tribal membership and were granted US and state citizenship. They continued to live as a community and to maintain ties. In the twentieth century, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians was recognized as a tribe, established a government under a written constitution, and have certain lands that were taken into trust by the federal government. They have established three gaming resorts to generate revenues for tribal health and welfare.
Escambia County was organized and established after the American Civil War, on December 10, 1868 during the Reconstruction era. The state legislature created it from parts of Baldwin and Conecuh counties, to the west and north, respectively. The area was part of the coastal plain. It was largely agricultural into the twentieth century.
Physical Therapy Universities Huxford AL
Choosing the ideal physical therapy school is an important first decision you have to make to launch a gratifying career in the medical profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you enroll in should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are additional relevant questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice as well. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Physical Therapy Universities. However, as you begin your search for a physical therapy college bear in mind that numerous factors will guide you to your ultimate decision. You may decide to go to each of the schools to see their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the proper training and education, you can achieve your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Huxford AL.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Alabama