How to Pick the Right Physical Therapist Training Program near Calera Alabama
Receiving a physical therapy degree near Calera AL is an important first step to launching a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated as a result of illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the proper training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to investigate those you are thinking about to ensure they will deliver a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is enroll in a school just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be evaluated along with location and cost. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of locations, such as Calera AL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries
- Cardiac arrest
- Sports injuries
- Fire injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Calera AL health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Offered
There are three physical therapist degree options offered for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the one degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short descriptions of degree levels that are available in the Calera AL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are usually made available by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a component of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist education to prepare candidates to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential 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 a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement in order to become a practicing licensed 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 3 years to complete, making the overall commitment 7 years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential component in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in several states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer offered in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Programs
While not as prevalent as the on-campus alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to 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 in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the curriculum can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Calera AL residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition may be significantly less than similar on-campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs 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 Therapist Colleges
At this point you probably have come to decision regarding some of your initial queries, including the type of physical therapy degree you want to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Calera AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll have to explore other qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of school choices. Also, you need to make sure that you select the school that is ideal for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Find out if the programs you are reviewing have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As previously mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you select an online college, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized 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 aid.
What is the Program’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact several Calera AL physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your program options. It may also be prudent 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 College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two relevant statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might mean that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Calera AL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps excellent. It also affirms that the program has a large network of contacts to help students obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the school you select furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that satisfies 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapist schools you are assessing have partnerships with Calera AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional relationships in the Calera medical community and assist with job placement once licensed.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Calera AL home. Those who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble 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 school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly 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 Assistance Provided? Most DPT schools supply some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid office and see what kind of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapy program you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Calera 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 carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Calera Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Calera AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
As of the 2010 census Calera had a population of 11,620, more than tripling its total in 2000, making it the fastest-growing city in Alabama. It is within the Birmingham-Hoover, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Calera is located in southern Shelby County at 33°06′27″N 86°45′00″W / 33.107572°N 86.749964°W / 33.107572; -86.749964. The city limits extend southward into Chilton County along U.S. Route 31, the main highway through the city. Interstate 65 passes through the eastern side of the city, with access from exits 228, 231, and 234.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 24.4 square miles (63.1 km2), of which 24.1 square miles (62.4 km2) is land and 0.27 square miles (0.7 km2), or 1.17%, is water.
Online Physical Therapist Schools Calera AL
Choosing the best physical therapist school is a necessary first decision you have to make to launch a fulfilling career in the medical profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you enroll in should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are additional relevant questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice also. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Online Physical Therapist Schools. However, as you start your search for a physical therapist college keep in mind that numerous factors will guide you to your ultimate decision. You may want to go to different campuses to view their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Calera AL.
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