How to Pick the Right Physical Therapy Program near Piedmont Alabama
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Piedmont AL is a critical first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated as a result of injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to investigate the ones you are looking at to make certain they will provide a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is select a school just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be considered besides cost and location. 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 what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in varying settings, including Piedmont AL private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a course of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Burn injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Piedmont AL health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degree Options
There are three physical therapist degree options available for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is offered to practice as 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. Below are short descriptions of degree levels that are available in the Piedmont AL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are most often provided by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a portion of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training to prepare candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take 4 years to finish and often include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated 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 finish, making the overall investment of time 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential element along with 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 taken the place of the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer offered in the USA. Some licensed 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 instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Degrees
Although not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs available, even more 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 school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online portion of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Piedmont AL residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition can be somewhat less than comparable on-campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
At this point you most likely have come to decision concerning a few of your preliminary questions, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you want to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Piedmont AL area and across Alabama, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Furthermore, you need to make certain that you select the school that is right for you. That’s why we have collected a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Ask if the programs you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier 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 may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapist school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can investigate a PT program’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Contact several Piedmont AL physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your college selections. 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 School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two important statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapy programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean 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 help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Piedmont AL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even outstanding. It also confirms that the school has a large network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you select furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the physical therapy schools you are evaluating have relationships with Piedmont AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Piedmont medical community and assist with job placement after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student 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 pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Piedmont AL home. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes naturally 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 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 may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Support Offered? Most DPT colleges provide some form of financial aid to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid department and see what kind of aid is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. Some physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapy school you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Piedmont AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Piedmont Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Piedmont AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Piedmont is a city in Calhoun and Cherokee counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. The population was 4,878 at the 2010 census. It is included in the Anniston-Oxford, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. Many surrounding communities are served by the 36272 ZIP code, including Spring Garden, Rock Run, Knighten's Crossroads, and Nance's Creek. The current mayor is Bill Baker, who was chosen by the city council to lead after elected mayor Rick Freeman resigned due to medical issues.
The area now known as Piedmont is a community that began in the early 1840s, located at the crossroads of two early post roads. Major Jacob Forney Dailey of North Carolina came to Alabama in 1848 and bought land in present-day Piedmont. Major Dailey named the area Cross Plains, and an official post office with that name was established on September 22, 1851.
In Reconstruction-era Alabama, an incident at Cross Plains affected race relations and the future of the northeast section of the state for generations as a result of the lynching of William Luke, a northern missionary, and several other men in 1870. In that year, the new northern-owned railroad to connect Washington, D.C. and the North with New Orleans was to have its headquarters near the small northeast Alabama town, at Patona. After the Ku Klux Klan-led lynchings, however, the headquarters was moved, and the town never achieved the dominant position in Calhoun County, with Anniston, founded the next year, achieving that status instead.
Educational Requirements For A Physical Therapist Piedmont AL
Choosing the best physical therapy college is a necessary initial decision you need to make to begin a fulfilling career in the medical field. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you choose should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are other important questions that you should ask regarding your college of choice as well. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Educational Requirements For A Physical Therapist. However, as you start your search for a physical therapy program keep in mind that a number of variables will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might want to visit different colleges to view their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me achieve my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Piedmont AL.
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