How to Find the Right Physical Therapy College near Loachapoka Alabama
Getting a physical therapy degree near Loachapoka AL is an essential first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the health care industry. 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 work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the necessary education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to investigate the ones you are looking at to ensure they will deliver a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is select a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be considered besides location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists work in varying locations, including Loachapoka AL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a course of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also strive to prevent any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries
- Cardiac arrest
- Sports injuries
- Fire injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Loachapoka AL medical 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 bear in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Offered
There are 3 physical therapy degree options offered for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short summaries of degrees that are available in the Loachapoka AL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are most often made available by community colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy training to prepare candidates to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they generally take 4 years to finish and often include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required in order to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program must also be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to finish, making the overall commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an important element in addition to the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in a number of states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has taken the place of the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer attainable in the USA. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Colleges
Although not as prevalent as the more traditional options, there are some accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, even more 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 requires that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online part of the curriculum can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Loachapoka AL residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition might be somewhat lower than comparable on-campus options, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
By now you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding a few of your initial questions, including 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 because there are so many PT schools within the Loachapoka AL area and across Alabama, you’ll need to look into other qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of school choices. Also, you need to be sure that you enroll in the program that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential schools these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Find out if the schools you are considering have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously 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 choose an online program, 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 just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with a few Loachapoka AL physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your college selections. It might also be prudent 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 important statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapy programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students left because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Loachapoka AL area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps excellent. It also verifies that the school has a large network of contacts to help students obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the school you select furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the physical therapist colleges you are evaluating have relationships with Loachapoka AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Loachapoka healthcare community and help with job placement after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. 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 converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Loachapoka AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Support Provided? Most DPT schools provide some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Ask if the colleges you are considering have a financial aid office and find out what kind of aid is offered. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapist college you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Loachapoka AL area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Loachapoka Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Loachapoka AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Loachapoka (/ˌloʊ.tʃəˈpoʊ.kə/) is a town in Lee County, Alabama, United States. It is located less than 1/2 mile west of Auburn and approximately 5 miles (8 km) west of Auburn University, in west-central Lee County. The population was 180 as of the 2010 census. It is part of the Auburn metropolitan area.
The name "Loachapoka" means "turtle killing place" in Muskogee, with locha meaning "turtle" and poga meaning "killing place." In literature, Lochapoka was the destination of the colonists in James H. Street's 1940 novel Oh, Promised Land.
Loachapoka is governed by a mayor and 5 town council members. However, in the most recent municipal election (2016), no incumbents submitted qualifying paperwork to run for re-election. Therefore, the only citizen that did qualify for the ballot became mayor-elect, as per state law, and this was confirmed by the AL Director of Elections. When the mayor-elect brought the issue to light, several town, county and state officials worked together in a poorly hatched plan to improperly disqualify the only candidate to follow the law for qualification, as referenced in several newspaper articles and audio recordings of town hall meetings. The corruption portrayed in this series of events reflect a pattern of politics in Alabama that has been commonplace for many years, as reported in the Harvard Political Review.
Physical Therapist Degree Plan Loachapoka AL
Choosing the ideal physical therapist program is a necessary first decision you need to make to launch a rewarding career in the healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you decide on should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. 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 Therapist Degree Plan. However, as you begin your search for a physical therapist college bear in mind that numerous variables will guide you to your final decision. You may want to visit different colleges to see their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the right selection. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Loachapoka AL.
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