How to Choose the Right Physical Therapy College near Attalla Alabama
Earning a physical therapy degree near Attalla AL is an essential first step to launching a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated due to injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the proper education and training. A PT must also become licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to research those you are thinking about to ensure they will furnish a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is select a college just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be evaluated in addition to location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll cover 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, such as Attalla 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 touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they design a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries
- Heart attacks
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Fire injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Attalla AL health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Offered
There are 3 physical therapist degrees available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short descriptions of degree levels that are offered in the Attalla AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are usually offered by junior or community colleges, and require two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a portion of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy education to prep candidates to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take 4 years to complete and commonly incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required in order to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program also must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to complete, making the overall investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an essential component along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in several 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 USA. 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 instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Colleges
Although not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy programs available, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature 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 nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online portion of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Attalla AL home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition may be significantly less than similar on-campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
By now you probably have come to decision regarding some of your initial questions, like the kind 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 since there are numerous PT schools within the Attalla AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll need to look into additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school choices. Furthermore, you want to be sure that you select the program that is ideal for you. That’s why we have collected a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As previously stated, 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 earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are a number of ways you can research a PT college’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Call a few Attalla AL physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your program selections. It may also be a good idea to check with the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist programs you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Attalla AL area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or even exceptional. It also verifies that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the school you choose provides both excellent 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 required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing have associations with Attalla AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to receive practical 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 connections in the Attalla health care community and help with job placement after licensing.
What Size 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 undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Attalla AL home. Those who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to keep 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 may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often 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 Support Offered? Most DPT schools offer some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Find out if the colleges you are examining have a financial aid office and find out what kind of help is available. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapy program you finally pick 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 night or weekend classes in the Attalla AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Attalla Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Attalla AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
The town occupies the site of an Indian village which was of considerable importance during the Creek War. It was in Attalla that David Brown, a Cherokee assisted by the Rev. D. S. Butterick, prepared the Cherokee Spelling Book.
Attalla was not founded until 1870, on land donated by W. C. Hammond, a plantation owner. It was incorporated as a city government on February 5, 1872. The town was officially named "Attalla" in 1893, from the Cherokee language word meaning "mountain". Attalla was prosperous until the railroads that it depended on went into bankruptcy.
William Lewis Moore, a U.S. postman and white civil rights activist, was murdered here on April 23, 1963 as he tried to walk from Chattanooga, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi to deliver his letter in support of civil rights to Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett. The suspected murderer, Floyd Simpson, was never charged with the crime.]].
Physical Therapist College Attalla AL
Choosing the best physical therapist program is a necessary first decision you have to make to begin a fulfilling career in the medical field. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you enroll in should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are other relevant questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice as well. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Physical Therapist College. However, as you begin your search for a physical therapy college keep in mind that many variables will guide you to your final decision. You may want to go to each of the schools to see their facilities and speak with active 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 be able to narrow down the field so you can make the ideal choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can achieve your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Attalla AL.
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