How to Pick the Right Physical Therapy School near Saginaw Alabama
Earning a physical therapy degree near Saginaw AL is a critical first step to beginning a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the necessary training and education. A PT must also become licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to evaluate those you are considering to make certain they will provide a quality education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be evaluated along with cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists practice in diverse settings, such as Saginaw AL private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a program of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Burn injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Saginaw AL health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
There are three physical therapist degrees offered for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is attainable to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short descriptions of degrees that are offered in the Saginaw AL area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to be physical therapy assistants, or can 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 typically made available by community colleges, and require two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a portion of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to ready candidates to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take 4 years to finish and often incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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 three years to complete, making the total investment of time 7 years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential element along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not just for graduation but in a number of states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer attainable in the USA. Some practicing 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 Schools
Although not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are a number of 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 incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online segment of the curriculum can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Saginaw AL residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition may be somewhat lower than similar on-campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
By now you most likely have made a decision concerning a few of your initial queries, such as the type of physical therapy degree you intend to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are so many PT schools within the Saginaw AL area and across Alabama, you’ll need to research other qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Moreover, you need to make certain that you enroll in the school that is best for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As earlier stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate 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 earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with several Saginaw AL physical therapy centers or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you 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 submitted against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapy schools you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students dropped out because of 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 college’s job placement program, particularly in the Saginaw AL area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also confirms that the college has a large network of contacts to help students get internships or employment after graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you choose furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that supports 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) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are reviewing have associations with Saginaw AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to receive practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Saginaw medical community and assist with job placement after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist school they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Saginaw AL residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry 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 even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? Most DPT colleges offer some type of financial support to their prospective students. Find out if the schools you are considering have a financial aid department and find out what kind of assistance is obtainable. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist school you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Saginaw AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative 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 may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Saginaw Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Saginaw AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Saginaw is an unincorporated community 2.5 miles north of Calera in Shelby County, Alabama, United States with zip code 35137. It is part of the Birmingham-Hoover-Cullman Combined Statistical Area. It is located southeast of Alabaster on the east side of Interstate 65 at the intersection of State Route 70 and U.S. Route 31.
Saginaw is the home of the Saginaw Pipe Company, Inc., a major supplier of steel pipe, beams, tubing, and plate. The Dravo Lime Company quarry in Saginaw was honored for their outstanding safety record in the annual Sentinels of Safety awards program co-sponsored by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and the National Mining Association (NMA) in 1997 and 1999.
The U.S. Census bureau does not keep separate statistics for Saginaw. As of the census of 2000, for Block Group 2, Census Tract 306.09, Shelby County, Alabama, which is the census block group that includes the center of Saginaw, the total population was 1,684 people, with a racial makeup of 97.1% white, 2.2% black, and 0.7% mixed or other races.
Education Required To Be A Physical Therapist Saginaw AL
Selecting the ideal physical therapist school is an important first decision you have to make to launch a gratifying career in the medical profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you enroll in should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are additional important questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Education Required To Be A Physical Therapist. However, as you commence your search for a physical therapy program keep in mind that many factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might decide to go to different campuses to view their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me achieve my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the best selection. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Saginaw AL.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Alabama
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