How to Pick the Right Physical Therapist Program near Fairfield Alabama
Getting a physical therapy degree near Fairfield AL is an essential first step to launching a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled due to illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the proper training and education. A PT must also be licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s important to research those you are looking at to ensure they will provide a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is select a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be considered along with cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists work in a variety of locations, including Fairfield AL private practices, hospitals, 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 earlier touched on, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they create a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also strive to stop any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest
- Sports injuries
- Fire injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Fairfield AL health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degree Options
There are three physical therapy degree options available for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the one degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short descriptions of degree levels that are available in the Fairfield AL area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are most often provided by community colleges, and require 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a portion of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist education to ready students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take four years to complete and commonly incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required in order to become a practicing licensed 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 3 years to complete, making the total investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal component along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in several states for licensing also.
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 offered in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Schools Online
Although not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online portion of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Fairfield AL residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition might be significantly less than similar on campus options, and costs for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
At this point you probably have come to decision regarding several of your preliminary queries, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you want to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Fairfield AL area and across Alabama, you’ll need to explore other qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of school options. Also, you need to be sure that you choose the school that is right for you. That’s why we have put together a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Ask if the programs you are looking at have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. 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 enroll in an online school, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact some Fairfield AL physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your college selections. It may also be prudent to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of useful statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapy schools you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Fairfield 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 outstanding. It also affirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you enroll in furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are assessing have partnerships with Fairfield AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Fairfield medical community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Fairfield AL home. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern 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 college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? The majority of DPT schools offer some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial aid office and find out what type of assistance is available. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. Some physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapist school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Fairfield AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Fairfield Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Fairfield AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Fairfield is a city in western Jefferson County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Birmingham metropolitan area and is located southeast of Pleasant Grove. The population was 11,117 at the 2010 census.
This city was founded in 1910 in which the featured speaker at the dedication ceremony was former President Theodore Roosevelt. It was originally named Corey, after an executive of U.S. Steel Corporation. The name was later changed to the city in which the President of U.S. Steel lived, Fairfield, Connecticut. It was planned as a model city by the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company to house workers in their new Fairfield Works plant, now owned by U.S. Steel, similar to its northeastern city of Ensley.
As of the census of 2000, there were 12,381 people, 4,600 households, and 3,141 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,503.8 people per square mile (1,354.2/km²). There were 4,960 housing units at an average density of 1,403.7 per square mile (542.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 8.90% White, 90.23% Black or African American, 0.06% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.17% from other races, and 0.48% from two or more races. 0.59% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Physical Therapy Degree Online Fairfield AL
Selecting the right physical therapy school is a necessary initial decision you have to make to begin a gratifying career in the healthcare profession. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you choose should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are additional relevant questions that you need to ask regarding your school of choice as well. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Physical Therapy Degree Online. However, as you commence your search for a physical therapist college bear in mind that numerous factors will guide you toward your final decision. You may want to visit each of the colleges to see their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me reach my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the ideal selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Fairfield AL.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Alabama
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Physical Therapist: Expertise, Specialities, and Training
There are several types of degrees a physical therapist may hold. Before the end of the 1990s, only a bachelor's degree in physical therapy was required, but students entering the field today are required to have a doctorate level degree (called a DPT). DPT programs typically last 3 years.
Physical Therapy Salary and Careers | [email protected]
Physical therapists’ starting salaries vary by location and by specialty. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual physical therapist salary in 2019 was $89,440, or $43.00 per hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $62,120, while the highest 10 percent earned more than $124,740. 
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How Much Does a Physical Therapist Assistant Make? (PTA)
According to 2020 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for physical therapist assistants is $59,440 per year ($28.58 per hour). Salaries can vary based on location, education, and experience. This average is not entry level – recent graduates will need to earn experience and work their way up to earn a higher ...