How to Choose the Right Physical Therapy Program near Reform Alabama
Getting a physical therapist degree near Reform AL is an essential first step to launching a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled due to injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the necessary education and training. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research the ones you are looking at to ensure they will deliver a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is choose a college just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be evaluated in addition to cost and location. But before we discuss 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 is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists practice in varying locations, including Reform 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 previously touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also strive to prevent any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Burn injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Reform AL medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapy degrees offered for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degrees that are available in the Reform AL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically offered by community colleges, and take about 2 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. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they generally require 4 years to finish and usually include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want to become a licensed practicing 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 3 years to finish, making the total investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an important component along with the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in several states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer attainable in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Degrees
While not as common as the more traditional options, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Reform AL residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat lower than comparable on campus options, and costs 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 option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
At this point you most likely have come to decision concerning some of your initial questions, including the kind of physical therapist degree you want to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are so many PT colleges within the Reform AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll need to look into additional qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college options. Moreover, you want to be sure that you enroll in the college that is best for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions prior to making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Ask if the schools you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. 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 enroll in an online school, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, beginning with requesting 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 as well. Get in touch with some Reform AL physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your program 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 schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy schools you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low 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 placed in jobs with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Reform AL area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even exceptional. It also confirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the school you enroll in provides both excellent 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 required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing have partnerships with Reform AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to get practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Reform healthcare community and help with job placement after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable 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 classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Reform AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose 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 generally 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 Support Offered? The majority of DPT schools offer some type of financial support to their prospective students. Ask if the colleges you are examining have a financial aid department and see what type of assistance is available. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist program you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Reform AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Reform Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Reform AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Reform is a city in Pickens County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 1,702, down from 1,978 in 2000. It is located approximately halfway between Columbus, Mississippi and Tuscaloosa on U.S. Route 82.
Sparsely settled after statehood, Reform first received a post office in 1841. It wasn't incorporated until March 2, 1898, following the community getting train service via the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. According to tradition, the community was named from an incident when an evangelist paid the new settlement a visit, imploring the first settlers to "reform".
In May 1968, a mule train, part of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference sponsored Poor People's Campaign, stopped for two days in Reform before heading to Tuscaloosa, Alabama on its way to Washington, DC.
Physical Therapist Schooling How Long Reform AL
Choosing the best physical therapist program is a necessary initial decision you must make to launch a fulfilling career in the medical profession. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you decide on should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. But there are other important questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice also. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Physical Therapist Schooling How Long. However, as you start your search for a physical therapy program bear in mind that many variables will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You may decide to go to different colleges to see their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the best selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can achieve your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Reform AL.
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