How to Select the Right Physical Therapy Course near Spanish Fort Alabama
Getting a physical therapist degree near Spanish Fort AL is an essential first step to beginning a rewarding career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated as a result of illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the proper education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to investigate the ones you are thinking about to ensure they will deliver a superior education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is choose a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be evaluated along with location and cost. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists work in a variety of locations, such as Spanish Fort AL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a program of treatment to address the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries
- Heart attacks
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Fire injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Spanish Fort AL medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Offered
There are 3 physical therapist degree options offered for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is attainable to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief descriptions of degrees that are offered in the Spanish Fort AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are usually offered by community colleges, and require 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist education to prepare candidates to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they generally take four years to complete and often incorporate 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 must also 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 total commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal component along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in some 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 offered in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Online Colleges
Although not as prevalent as the more traditional alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy programs offered, 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 near the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the program may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Spanish Fort AL residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition may be somewhat less than similar on campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
By now you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding a few of your preliminary queries, like the type of physical therapy degree you intend to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Spanish Fort AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll have to research other qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college options. Furthermore, you want to be sure that you select the school that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Ask if the schools you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a national or a regional 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 select an online school, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Also, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can research a PT school’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Contact several Spanish Fort AL physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your program selections. It might also be prudent to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist colleges you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students left because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Spanish Fort AL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even exceptional. It also verifies that the program has a large network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you choose furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria 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) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist programs you are assessing have relationships with Spanish Fort AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Spanish Fort healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapist school they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Spanish Fort AL residence. Students who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally 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 support to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and see what kind of aid is obtainable. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapist school you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Spanish Fort AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Spanish Fort Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Spanish Fort AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Spanish Fort, Alabama
Spanish Fort is a city in Baldwin County, Alabama, United States, located on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay. The 2010 census lists the population of the city as 6,798. It is a suburb of Mobile and is part of the Daphne-Fairhope-Foley micropolitan area.
In November 2012, Spanish Fort built a community center to house its administrative offices and city amenities. The center is home to the city library, administrative offices, the office of the mayor, and other city-run services. The municipal complex is roughly 30,000 square feet and cost around $5 million to build. It sits on 17-acres of prime land and features a large pond with two fountains and a pavilion. The city also hosts community outreach events along with city council and budget meetings.
Spanish Fort is located at 30°40'7.403" North, 87°55'19.844" West (30.668723, -87.922179), above the east shore of the Blakeley River where it enters Mobile Bay. U.S. Routes 90 and 98 (Battleship Parkway) lead west across the Mobile River and its distributaries 9 miles (14 km) to Mobile. Interstate 10 passes just to the south of Spanish Fort, with access from exits 35 and 38, and leads west across Mobile Bay to Mobile as well.
Major In Physical Therapy Spanish Fort AL
Choosing the best physical therapy program is a necessary first decision you have to make to launch a fulfilling career in the health care field. As we have covered 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 other relevant questions that you need to ask regarding your school of choice also. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Major In Physical Therapy. However, as you commence your search for a physical therapist program keep in mind that numerous factors will guide you to your ultimate decision. You may decide to visit different colleges to see their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me realize 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 ideal selection. And with the proper training and education, you can accomplish your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Spanish Fort AL.
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