How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapist Course near Anniston Alabama
Earning a physical therapy degree near Anniston AL is an important first step to beginning a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated due to illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the proper training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate the ones you are thinking about to ensure they will supply a superior education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is enroll in a college just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant 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 address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists work in diverse settings, including Anniston AL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a program of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Burn injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Anniston AL medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone considering entering the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are three physical therapy degrees available for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degree levels that are offered in the Anniston AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually offered by community or junior colleges, and require 2 years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically part of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to prep students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take 4 years to complete and often incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want 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 finish, making the overall commitment seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal element in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not just for graduation but in some states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer offered in the United States. A number of practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Online Schools
While not as prevalent as the on-campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships 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 course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Anniston AL home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition might be significantly less than comparable on campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
By now you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning some of your preliminary queries, such as the type of physical therapist degree you would like to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Anniston AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll have to look into other qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of school options. Also, you want to make certain that you pick the school that is best for you. That’s why we have put together a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. 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 enroll in 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 enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT program’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 as well. Contact several Anniston AL physical therapist clinics or other health 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 might also be prudent 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 Percentage? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist programs you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students left due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Anniston AL area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or even exceptional. It also confirms that the college has a large network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you select provides both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the physical therapist programs you are reviewing have partnerships with Anniston AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to receive practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Anniston medical community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Anniston AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. 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 have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? Most DPT schools supply some type of financial support to their prospective students. Ask if the colleges you are considering have a financial aid department and find out what kind of aid is available. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial aid may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapist college you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Anniston AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Anniston Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Anniston AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Anniston is the county seat of Calhoun County in Alabama and is one of two urban centers/principal cities of and included in the Anniston-Oxford Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 23,106. According to 2013 Census estimates, the city had a population of 22,666.
Though the surrounding area was settled much earlier, the mineral resources in the area of Anniston were not exploited until the Civil War. The Confederate States of America then operated an iron furnace near present-day downtown Anniston, until it was finally destroyed by raiding Union cavalry in early 1865. Later, cast iron for sewer systems became the focus of Anniston's industrial output. Cast iron pipe, also called soil pipe, was popular until the advent of plastic pipe in the 1960s.
In 1872, the Woodstock Iron Company, organized by Samuel Noble and Union Gen. Daniel Tyler, rebuilt the furnace on a much larger scale, and started a planned community named Woodstock, soon renamed "Annie's Town" for Annie Scott Tyler, Daniel's daughter and wife of railroad president Alfred L. Tyler. Anniston was chartered as a town in 1873.
Physical Therapist Programs Anniston AL
Choosing the ideal physical therapy college is a necessary first decision you have to make to begin a gratifying career in the healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you enroll in should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. But there are additional important questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice also. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Physical Therapist Programs. However, as you start your search for a physical therapist school keep in mind that many factors will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You may decide to visit each of the schools to view their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Anniston AL.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Alabama