How to Choose the Right Physical Therapist Training Program near Fultondale Alabama
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Fultondale AL is an essential first step to starting a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled as a result of injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the proper education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate the ones you are thinking about to make sure they will furnish a superior education and meet your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is enroll in a school just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be evaluated in addition to cost and location. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists work in varying locations, including Fultondale AL private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped 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 illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they create a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Fire injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Fultondale AL health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Offered
There are 3 physical therapy degrees available for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the one degree that is offered 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 advance to the doctoral level. Following are short descriptions of degree levels that are offered in the Fultondale AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically made available by community colleges, and require two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a component of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training to ready students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take 4 years to finish and usually incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program must also 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 commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential component in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in some states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer attainable in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Colleges Online
Although not as common as the more traditional alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapy degrees available, 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 requires that the student live close to the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online portion of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Fultondale AL home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition might be somewhat less than similar on campus options, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
By now you most likely have made a decision regarding some of your initial queries, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you want to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Fultondale AL area and across Alabama, you’ll have to explore additional qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of college options. Also, you need to be sure that you enroll in the program that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Find out if the schools you are reviewing have earned 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 choose an online program, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with some Fultondale AL physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your school selections. It may also be prudent to check with the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapist programs you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Fultondale AL area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or even excellent. It also confirms that the school has a wide network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the school you enroll in provides both exceptional training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are assessing have relationships with Fultondale AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Fultondale medical community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse 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 number of students, the physical therapy school they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Fultondale AL residence. Students who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically 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 provide some form of financial support to their prospective students. Ask if the schools you are considering have a financial assistance office and find out what type of aid is obtainable. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapy program you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fultondale AL area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Fultondale Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Fultondale AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
This area was once known as Fulton Springs. Prior to the building of Interstate 65, US 31 was the main route for travelers northbound from Birmingham towards Nashville, Tennessee. As a result, hotels such as the Keystone Lodge and Buchmann Motor Inn prospered. On the city's southern edge was located one of the few drive-in theatres in the Birmingham area (the "Skyview"). This was torn down when I-65 was built in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Pine Bowl bowling alley is still a long time fixture in the city.Traces of the old routing of US 31 are still noticeable in the city. From just south of the city hall to an old bridge on this city's northern side, most of this old routing is known as Stouts Road or in some cases simply "old US 31."
Fultondale was a relatively stagnant community until the last decade. Growth has occurred in residential areas mainly west of Interstate 65, while retail development has focused along and near the I-65/Walkers Chapel Road exit.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.2 square miles (32 km2), all land. Fultondale is located along one of the many ridgelines that comprise the southern end of the Appalachian Mountain chain. The area has been thoroughly mined for coal and other minerals in the past 100 years. The city is served by two major north/south highways, Interstate 65 and US Highway 31. The new Interstate 22 encroaches on the city's western edge and on June 20, 2016, the interchange with I-65 just south of Fultondale opened. I-22 will provide direct interstate access to Memphis, Tennessee. Upon completion of Interstate 22, Fultondale will become the fourth Alabama city (after Birmingham, Montgomery, and Mobile) to be directly served by more than one two-digit interstate highway (I-65 & I-22). The only east/west thoroughfare of note is Walkers Chapel Road (west of US 31) and New Castle Road (east of US 31). Rail lines run north/south along the city's eastern edge from Boyles Yard in Tarrant to points north and east. Air travel is available from nearby Birmingham International Airport.
Physical Therapy Schools Near Me Fultondale AL
Choosing the ideal physical therapy college is a necessary first decision you must make to launch a fulfilling career in the health care field. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you choose should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are other critical questions that you should ask concerning your school of choice also. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Physical Therapy Schools Near Me. However, as you commence your search for a physical therapist school bear in mind that numerous factors will lead you toward your final decision. You may want to visit different colleges to see their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me realize 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 ideal selection. And with the proper training and education, you can achieve your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Fultondale AL.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Alabama
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