How to Choose the Right Physical Therapist School near Ashville Alabama
Earning a physical therapy degree near Ashville AL is an important first step to launching a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated due to 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 proper training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research those you are looking at to ensure they will provide a superior education and meet your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is enroll in a college 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 besides cost and location. 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 Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists practice in varying locations, including Ashville AL private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a program of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries
- Cardiac arrest
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Fire injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Ashville AL health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapist degrees offered for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is available to become 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 short summaries of degrees that are offered in the Ashville AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are usually offered by community colleges, and require 2 years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically a portion of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist training to prep candidates to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they generally require 4 years to complete and commonly include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to finish, making the total investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an essential component along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in some states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has taken the place of the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer available in the United States. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Programs Online
Although not as common as the on campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs offered, even more 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 requires that the student live near the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online portion of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Ashville AL residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition may be significantly lower than similar on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding a few of your initial queries, including the type of physical therapist degree you want to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Ashville AL area and across Alabama, you’ll have to explore other qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college choices. Also, you want to be sure that you pick the college that is right for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are considering. Ask each of the competing schools these questions before making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously 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 program, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be required 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 important that the school and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can research a PT school’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact a few Ashville AL physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your school selections. It might also be prudent to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two relevant statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Ashville AL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also affirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you enroll in provides both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapy programs you are reviewing have relationships with Ashville AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to obtain hands on experience 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 form professional relationships in the Ashville healthcare community and help with job placement after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide 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 average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Ashville AL home. Students who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble 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 school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? The majority of DPT colleges supply some type of financial aid to their prospective students. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department and see what kind of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapist college you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Ashville AL area, verify 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 carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Ashville Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Ashville AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Ashville is a city in St. Clair County, Alabama, United States. Its population was 2,212 at the 2010 census, down from 2,260, at which time it was a town. Ashville is the county seat of St. Clair County along with Pell City. It incorporated in 1822.
Ashville was initially founded as the community of St. Clairsville, but the name was changed to honor John Ash, the first white settler of the area who arrived in 1817. He became the first county judge and later state senator. His log cabin stands in the city center. Philip Coleman originally owned the land on which the town stands, but he sold 30 acres to the five county commissioners, which included Ash, who was appointed by Gov. Thomas Bibb to establish a new county seat for St. Clair. It was designated the county seat in 1821 and the village incorporated in 1822. The first courthouse, also a log structure, was built two years later. It was replaced in 1844 with the current courthouse building.
In 1890, a group of investors organized the Ashville Railroad Company, and built a railroad line from Ashville to Whitney, connecting it to the Alabama Great Southern Railroad. However, it went bankrupt during the mid-1890s, and the tracks were dismantled and sold for scrap. Electric lights came to Ashville in 1891, and the first telephone company was chartered in the same year. Residents in the southern half of the county often complained of the difficulty of traveling to Ashville over Backbone Mountain, which divides the county, so the state legislature authorized a satellite county seat to be established in Pell City in 1907 on the southern side of the mountain.
How Long Does It Take To Become A Physical Therapist Ashville AL
Selecting the right physical therapist college is an important initial decision you must make to begin a fulfilling career in the healthcare profession. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you enroll in should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. However there are other relevant 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 How Long Does It Take To Become A Physical Therapist. However, as you start your search for a physical therapy program bear in mind that numerous variables will guide you to your final decision. You might decide to go to each of the colleges to view their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the ideal selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can achieve your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Ashville AL.
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