How to Choose the Right Physical Therapist School near Marion Alabama
Earning a physical therapist degree near Marion AL is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the proper training and education. A PT must also be licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate the ones you are considering to make sure they will furnish a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be evaluated in addition to cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists work in diverse settings, such as Marion AL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to address the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries
- Cardiac arrest
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Fire injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Marion AL medical specialists, 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 bear in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy field, 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 Therapist Degree Options
There are three physical therapy degree options offered for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degrees that are offered in the Marion AL area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually offered by community colleges, and require two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a portion of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to ready candidates to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they typically require four years to complete and often 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 finish, making the total investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal element along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in some 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 phased out and is no longer available in the USA. A number of 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 instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Schools
Although not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees available, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the curriculum can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Marion AL home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat less than comparable on campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
At this point you probably have made a decision concerning some of your preliminary questions, such as the type of physical therapist degree you want to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Marion AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll have to explore other qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Furthermore, you need to make certain that you choose the college that is right for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are considering. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions prior to making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Find out if the programs you are looking at have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As earlier stated, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you enroll in an online program, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can investigate a PT school’s reputation, beginning with requesting 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 also. Get in touch with some Marion AL physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your college selections. It may also be a good idea 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 School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of important statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students left due to 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 college’s job placement program, particularly in the Marion AL area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps excellent. It also confirms that the program has a large network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the program you choose provides both exceptional training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements 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 school. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the physical therapy colleges you are interested in have associations with Marion AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also 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 Marion healthcare community and help with job placement once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on 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 pharmacy technician program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Marion AL home. Those who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? Most DPT colleges provide some type of financial aid to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are examining have a financial assistance office and see what type of assistance is obtainable. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. A number of physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapy program you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Marion AL area, confirm that they are offered. 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 need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Marion Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Marion AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Marion is a city in, and the county seat of, Perry County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 3,686, up 4.8% over 2000. First known as Muckle Ridge, the city was renamed after a hero of the American Revolution, Francis Marion.
Formerly the territory of the Creek Indians, it was founded shortly after 1819 as Muckle Ridge. The city was renamed in honor of Francis Marion, the "Swamp Fox," hero of the American Revolutionary War, in 1822. It incorporated as a town the same year and also became the second county seat after the hamlet of Perry Ridge was unsuitable. In 1829, it upgraded from a town to a city. From the very early days, Marion created considerable history for a small town on the western frontier of Alabama. The old City Hall (1832) is but one of many antebellum public buildings, churches, and homes in the city today.
At the 1844 meeting of the Alabama Baptist State Convention in Marion, the "Alabama Resolutions" were passed. This was one of the factors that led to the 1845 formation of the Southern Baptist Convention in Augusta, Georgia.
Masters Degree In Physical Therapy Marion AL
Choosing the right physical therapy school is an important initial decision you have to make to start a rewarding career in the healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you enroll in should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. However there are other relevant questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice also. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Masters Degree In Physical Therapy. However, as you begin your search for a physical therapy program keep in mind that numerous variables will guide you toward your final decision. You might decide to go to different campuses to view their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me achieve 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 options so you can make the best selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Marion AL.
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