How to Pick the Right Physical Therapy School near Robertsdale Alabama
Getting a physical therapist degree near Robertsdale AL is an essential first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated as a result of injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the proper education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research those you are looking at to make certain they will supply a superior education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is choose a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be considered in addition to cost and location. 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 Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists practice in diverse settings, including Robertsdale AL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Burn injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Robertsdale AL medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Available
There are three physical therapy degree options available for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief explanations of degree levels that are available in the Robertsdale AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are usually provided by community colleges, and take about two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a portion 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 a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take four years to complete and often incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 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 complete, making the overall commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an essential component along with the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in some states for licensing as well.
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 even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Colleges Online
Although not as prevalent as the on-campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees available, even more 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 near the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Robertsdale AL residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition can be significantly less than similar on-campus options, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
By now you probably have made a decision regarding some of your initial queries, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the Robertsdale AL area and across Alabama, you’ll have to research additional qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of college choices. Also, you want to make sure that you pick the college that is right for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Ask if the programs you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As previously stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online program, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call some Robertsdale AL physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your program selections. It might also be prudent to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two useful statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students left due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Robertsdale AL area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also verifies that the school has a wide network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the college you choose provides both exceptional training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist programs you are reviewing have partnerships with Robertsdale AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Robertsdale health care community and help with job placement after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Robertsdale AL home. Those who have chosen to attend online classes naturally 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 bear in mind is that if you choose 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 typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? The majority of DPT schools offer some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are examining 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 might be eligible for. A number of physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapist program you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Robertsdale AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Robertsdale Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Robertsdale AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Robertsdale is located in southern Baldwin County at 30°33'16.034" North, 87°42'20.038" West (30.554454, -87.705566).U.S. Route 90 (Old Spanish Trail) passes through the city, leading west 24 miles (39 km) to Mobile and east 35 miles (56 km) to Pensacola, Florida.
As of the census of 2010, there were 5,276 people, 1,951 households, and 1,392 families residing in the city. The population density was 968 people per square mile (373.6/km²). There were 1,573 housing units at an average density of 357.3 per square mile (137.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 85.3% White, 5.4% Black or African American, 0.8% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 6.1% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. 9.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 1,951 households out of which 36.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.4% were married couples living together, 14.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.7% were non-families. 23.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.10.
Undergraduate Degree For Physical Therapy Robertsdale AL
Choosing the best physical therapist school is an important initial decision you need to make to start a fulfilling career in the health care field. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you enroll in should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are additional critical questions that you need to ask pertaining to your school of choice also. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Undergraduate Degree For Physical Therapy. However, as you commence your search for a physical therapy program keep in mind that numerous variables will guide you to your final decision. You may decide to go to different colleges to see their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me reach my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Robertsdale AL.
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