How to Find the Right Physical Therapist School near Andalusia Alabama
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Andalusia AL is an important first step to launching a rewarding career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated as a result of illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the proper education and training. A PT must also be licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research the ones you are considering to ensure they will provide a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is select a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be evaluated besides location and cost. But before we talk about 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 a variety of locations, including Andalusia AL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they create a program of treatment to address the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also strive to stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries
- Cardiac arrest
- Sports injuries
- Burn injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Andalusia AL health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also manage one or more 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 quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are 3 physical therapy degree options offered for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is available 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. Below are short explanations of degrees that are available in the Andalusia AL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are most often provided by community colleges, and require two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally part of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy training to ready students to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally require four years to finish and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required 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). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the total investment of time seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal element in addition to the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely 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 available in the United States. A number of practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Programs
Although not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Andalusia AL home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition might be significantly lower than comparable on campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
At this point you most likely have come to decision concerning some of your preliminary queries, such as the type of physical therapy degree you would like to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Andalusia AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll need to explore other qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of school choices. Also, you want to make sure that you enroll in the program that is best for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions before making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are considering have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As earlier stated, 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 may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT program’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Get in touch with several Andalusia AL physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your school options. It may also be a good idea to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two useful statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Andalusia AL area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also affirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you enroll in provides both superior training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the physical therapist colleges you are assessing have relationships with Andalusia AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to obtain practical 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 help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Andalusia medical community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Andalusia AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. 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 normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Support Offered? The majority of DPT schools offer some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance department and find out what type of help is offered. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapy program you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Andalusia AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Andalusia Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Andalusia AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Andalusia was first settled in 1841 after flooding of the Conecuh River and the surrounding lowlands forced citizens to move to higher ground. The county seat was moved from Montezuma to Andalusia in 1844. The new town was originally called "New Site" but was known as Andalusia by the time a post office was established in 1846.
Andalusia, likely got its name from Spanish explorers or settlers since the land where the town is located was part of Spanish Florida until Pinckney's Treaty in 1795. Prior to this treaty, the Spanish Empire claimed all land up to 32.22 degrees north, which would include present day Andalusia which is at 31.31 degrees north. Andalusia shares the name of Andalusia, a large southern autonomous community of Spain.
Andalusia is located slightly northwest of the center of Covington County at 31°18′N 86°29′W / 31.300°N 86.483°W / 31.300; -86.483 (31.309, -86.479). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 19.8 square miles (51.3 km2), of which 19.7 square miles (50.9 km2) is land and 0.15 square miles (0.4 km2), or 0.79%, is water.
Best Physical Therapy Schools Andalusia AL
Picking the right physical therapist program is a necessary first decision you must make to begin a fulfilling career in the medical profession. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you choose should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are additional critical questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice also. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Best Physical Therapy Schools. However, as you begin your search for a physical therapist program keep in mind that a number of factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might want to go to different colleges to see their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical 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 be able to narrow down the field so you can make the ideal choice. And with the proper training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Andalusia AL.
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