How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapy School near Alabaster Alabama
Getting a physical therapist degree near Alabaster AL is an essential first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated as a result of 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 appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to investigate those you are thinking about to make certain they will provide 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 residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be evaluated in addition to location and cost. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists practice in diverse settings, including Alabaster AL private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to address the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks
- Sports injuries
- Burn injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Alabaster AL medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
There are 3 physical therapist degrees available for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are brief descriptions of degree levels that are available in the Alabaster AL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are usually made available by community or junior colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to prep candidates to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically take four years to finish and commonly include an internship program of a minimum of 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 three years to complete, making the overall investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal element along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not only 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 practicing 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 implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Schools
While not as common as the more traditional options, there are some accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, more so 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 college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online part of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Alabaster AL residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition can be somewhat lower than similar on-campus options, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
At this point you most likely have made a decision regarding a few of your initial queries, like the type of physical therapy degree you intend to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Alabaster AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll have to research other qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of college choices. Moreover, you need to make certain that you choose the school that is right for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are considering. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions prior to making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier mentioned, 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 school, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT program’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Get in touch with several Alabaster AL physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your school options. It may also be prudent 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 couple of significant statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Alabaster AL area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even exceptional. It also verifies that the college has a wide network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you enroll in furnishes both superior training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapist programs you are interested in have associations with Alabaster AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Alabaster health care community and assist with job placement after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are researching what the typical 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 an opportunity to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist school they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Alabaster AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT schools offer some form of financial aid to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are looking at have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of assistance is obtainable. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapy college you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Alabaster AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure 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 Alabaster Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Alabaster AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Alabaster is a city and southern suburb of Birmingham in Shelby County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census, the population was 30,352. According to the 2013 Census Estimates, the city had a population of 31,342. Alabaster is the 16th largest city in Alabama by number of residents.
Alabaster mostly occupies the Cahaba and Opossum Valleys, which are divided by the Pine Ridge that runs north to south. To the east and west, both valleys are flanked by parallel mountain ridges that locally run north to south, but are a part of a larger system of ridges that generally runs north-east to south-west (the tailing ends of the Appalachian foothills). The valleys are drained by small creeks (Buck Creek, Beaverdam Creek) which flow into the Cahaba River.
George L. Scott, Sr., an Alabaster pioneer, owned and operated Alabaster Lime Co. His shipping point was known as “Scott Rock.” Later, housing was built to accommodate some of the employees, and the community acquired its name Alabaster from the "white calcium carbonate mineral." The First Bank of Alabaster opened in 1952, and its president was George L. Scott, Jr., who later became the first mayor of Alabaster. The first attempt in 1952 to incorporate Alabaster failed. In January 1953, the petition was again filed, and on February 23, 1953, Alabaster was officially incorporated with a favorable vote of 79 to 23, and 427 residing inhabitants. In 1955, the Alabaster Water and Gas Board was formed.
Physical Therapist Degrees Alabaster AL
Deciding on the best physical therapy college is a necessary initial decision you must make to begin a rewarding career in the health care field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you decide on should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. But there are additional important questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Physical Therapist Degrees. However, as you commence your search for a physical therapy program keep in mind that numerous factors will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You may decide to go to each of the colleges to see their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me realize 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 appropriate choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Alabaster AL.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Alabama
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