How to Find the Right Physical Therapist Training Program near Jacksonville Alabama
Getting a physical therapist degree near Jacksonville AL is an essential first step to beginning a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated as a result of injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the appropriate training and education. A PT must also become licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to investigate the ones you are looking at to make certain they will provide a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be considered besides 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 Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists practice in diverse locations, such as Jacksonville AL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression 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
- Cardiac arrest
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Fire injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Jacksonville AL health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone thinking about entering 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 long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
There are 3 physical therapy degree options available for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, 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. Below are short summaries of degree levels that are offered in the Jacksonville AL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are typically offered by community colleges, and require 2 years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically a portion of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy training to ready candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they typically require 4 years to finish and usually incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required if you want 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 3 years to complete, making the overall commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential component in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, 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 available in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Online Programs
While not as common as the more traditional alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapist degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the curriculum can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Jacksonville AL home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition may be significantly lower than similar on campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
At this point you probably have come to decision concerning some of your preliminary queries, such as the type of physical therapist degree you want to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Jacksonville AL area and across Alabama, you’ll have to research additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school choices. Also, you want to make sure that you select the school that is right for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering. Ask each of the competing schools these questions before making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Ask if the schools you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As earlier mentioned, 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 therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Call several Jacksonville AL physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your college 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 submitted against the colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapist programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students left because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Jacksonville AL area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also affirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important 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 working. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the physical therapist programs you are assessing have relationships with Jacksonville AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to get practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Jacksonville medical community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Jacksonville 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 local internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you decide 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 typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT colleges supply some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are considering have a financial aid office and see what kind of help is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapy school you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Jacksonville AL area, verify that they are available. 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, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Jacksonville Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Jacksonville AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Jacksonville is a city in Calhoun County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2010 census the population was 12,548, which is a 49% increase since 2000. It is included in the Anniston-Oxford Metropolitan Statistical Area. Jacksonville State University is located here, which is a center of commerce and one of the largest employers in the area.
Jacksonville was founded in 1833 on land purchased from Creek Indian Chief "Du-Hoag" Ladiga. First called Drayton, the town was renamed to honor President Andrew Jackson in 1834. There are a couple Civil War monuments in town, including a statue of Major John Pelham in the city cemetery and a statue of a Confederate soldier in the middle of the square. Jacksonville served as the county seat for Calhoun County until the 20th century when it moved to Anniston. Jacksonville State University was founded here in 1883.
An EF3 tornado hit Jacksonville on March 19, 2018, causing extensive damage to the city and Jacksonville State University, almost $42 million in damages. The relatively low number of casualties, specifically just four injuries, was attributed by some to the fact that the university was on spring break at the time. More than 1,000 volunteers assisted in the immediate tornado relief. Caleb Howard, then a senior at Jacksonville State University, said that "[i]t's been amazing to see the university and the community come together." Classes resumed at the university the following month. Although the university's usual site for graduation, Pete Mathews Coliseum, was damaged in the tornado along with over 20 other buildings, the first spring graduation since the tornado proceeded as scheduled on May 4 outside the football stadium. Dr. John Beeler, the university's president, said "It's a joyous event generally because you're celebrating the accomplishments of all your graduates, but it's an even more joyous event because to me it's a celebration of how far we've come in a short time in recovering from these tornadoes."
Schools For Physical Therapy Assistant Jacksonville AL
Picking the ideal physical therapist program is a necessary first decision you must make to start a gratifying career in the medical profession. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you decide on should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are additional important questions that you need to ask regarding your college of choice also. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Schools For Physical Therapy Assistant. However, as you commence your search for a physical therapy program keep in mind that a number of factors will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You might decide to go to each of the schools to view their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me reach 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 field so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Jacksonville AL.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Alabama
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