How to Pick the Right Physical Therapist School near Perdue Hill Alabama
Receiving a physical therapy degree near Perdue Hill AL is an essential first step to starting a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated due to illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the proper training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research those you are thinking about to make sure they will furnish a superior 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 residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be considered in addition to location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists work in diverse settings, including Perdue Hill AL private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries
- Heart attacks
- Sports injuries
- Burn injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Perdue Hill AL health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work under 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 rather 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 Degree Options
There are three physical therapist degree options offered for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief summaries of degree levels that are offered in the Perdue Hill AL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to practice as 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 be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically provided by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training 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 essential first step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally take four years to complete and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the total investment of time 7 years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an important element in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in some 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 offered in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Colleges
Although not as common as the more traditional alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online portion of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Perdue Hill AL residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition may be somewhat less than similar on-campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
By now you most likely have come to decision regarding several of your initial queries, such as the type of physical therapy degree you intend to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the Perdue Hill AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll need to look into additional qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Moreover, you want to make certain that you choose the college that is right for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Find out if the programs you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously 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 program, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can research a PT college’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call several Perdue Hill AL physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your college options. It may also be a good idea to check with the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Perdue Hill 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 outstanding. It also confirms that the program has a large network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you enroll in provides both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements 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) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the physical therapy programs you are interested in have relationships with Perdue Hill AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Perdue Hill health care community and help with job placement after licensing.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Perdue Hill AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT schools supply some type of financial support to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are examining have a financial aid office and find out what type of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapist program you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Perdue Hill AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol 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 Perdue Hill Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Perdue Hill AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
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Become Physical Therapist Perdue Hill AL
Picking the ideal physical therapy college is an important first decision you must make to launch a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you choose should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are other critical questions that you should ask pertaining to your college of choice also. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Become Physical Therapist. However, as you begin your search for a physical therapy school keep in mind that many factors will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You may want to go to different campuses to view their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me accomplish 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 appropriate selection. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Perdue Hill AL.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Alabama