How to Find the Right Physical Therapy Course near Northport Alabama
Receiving a physical therapy degree near Northport AL is a critical first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated as a result of injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the necessary education and training. A PT must also become licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to investigate those you are thinking about to make certain they will provide a quality education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is choose a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be considered 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 Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists work in varying locations, such as Northport AL private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest
- Sports injuries
- Burn injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Northport AL health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapist degrees offered for individuals to enroll in 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 concentrate on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief descriptions of degree levels that are available in the Northport AL area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are most often offered by community colleges, and take about two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to prep candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they generally require four years to finish and commonly include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required 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 three years to complete, making the overall commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an essential element along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in some 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 attainable in the USA. A number of practicing physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Degrees
While not as common as the on campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Northport AL home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition may be significantly lower than comparable on campus options, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
By now you most likely have come to decision concerning several of your preliminary queries, including the kind of physical therapist degree you want to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are so many PT colleges within the Northport AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll need to look into other qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school choices. Also, you want to make certain that you enroll in the college that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing schools these questions prior to making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Find out if the schools you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national 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 earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are a number of ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Get in touch with some Northport AL physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your college options. It might also be a good idea to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two significant statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapy programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might mean that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, 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 Northport AL area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even outstanding. It also affirms that the school has a large network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you select furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the physical therapy programs you are reviewing have relationships with Northport AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may help students and graduates form professional connections in the Northport healthcare community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Northport AL residence. Students who have decided to attend classes online 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 consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? Most DPT colleges supply some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial aid department and see what type of aid is available. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapist program you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Northport AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Northport Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Northport AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Northport is a city in Tuscaloosa County in the west central part of the State of Alabama. Located on the Black Warrior River across from downtown Tuscaloosa, it is currently the 21st largest city in Alabama with an estimated population of 24,497 in 2013. It incorporated in 1871. It is part of the Tuscaloosa Metropolitan Statistical Area.
As Northport is adjacent to the larger city of Tuscaloosa, many residents work in Tuscaloosa or other parts of Tuscaloosa County. Although the two cities share a land boundary, much of their boundary (and historically all of the boundary) is the Black Warrior River.
As of the census of 2000, there were 19,435 people, 7,844 households, and 5,255 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,328.3 people per square mile (512.9/km²). There were 8,509 housing units at an average density of 581.6 per square mile (224.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 71.11% White, 26.03% Black or African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.80% Asian, 0.15% Pacific Islander, 1.02% from other races, and 0.70% from two or more races. 1.92% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Physical Therapist Assistant Colleges Northport AL
Choosing the best physical therapist school is an important first decision you have to make to begin a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you decide on should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are other critical 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 Physical Therapist Assistant Colleges. However, as you begin your search for a physical therapy college bear in mind that many factors will guide you to your final decision. You might decide to visit each of the schools to see their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me realize my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the right selection. And with the proper training and education, you can achieve your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Northport AL.
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