How to Choose the Right Physical Therapy College near Roanoke Alabama
Obtaining a physical therapy degree near Roanoke AL is an important first step to starting a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled due to injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the necessary training and education. A PT must also become licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate the ones you are looking at to ensure they will supply a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be considered in addition to 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 what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists work in varying settings, including Roanoke AL private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also strive to stop any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Fire injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Roanoke AL medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are three physical therapist degree options available for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short descriptions of degree levels that are offered in the Roanoke AL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are usually offered by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally part of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist training to prep candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically take 4 years to finish and commonly include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want to become a practicing licensed 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 3 years to complete, making the overall commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an essential element along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, 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 eliminated and is no longer offered in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Programs Online
Although not as prevalent as the more traditional options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online part of the program may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Roanoke AL residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition may be somewhat less than similar on-campus options, and costs 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 dedicated enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
At this point you most likely have come to decision regarding several of your initial questions, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you intend 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 Roanoke AL area and across Alabama, you’ll need to look into additional qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Also, you need to make certain that you choose the program that is best for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are considering. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Ask if the programs you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. 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 choose an online school, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT college’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact a few Roanoke AL physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your program options. 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 colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapy programs you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students left because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Roanoke AL area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even outstanding. It also confirms that the school has a wide network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the school you enroll in furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapist programs you are interested in have relationships with Roanoke AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Roanoke medical community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Roanoke AL home. Those who have decided to attend classes online 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 bear 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 may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Most DPT schools offer some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and see what type of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapist school you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Roanoke AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Roanoke Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Roanoke AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
This was an area of historic occupation by the Creek before treaties to persuade the Native Americans to cede their land, followed by forced migration under the Indian Removal Act of 1830. The area was part of a broad part of upland developed as cotton plantations worked by enslaved African Americans. The area is still quite rural.
Initially called High Pine in the 1830s after a nearby creek, it was allegedly burned during an Indian uprising in 1836. Renamed Chulafinee in 1840, it was later renamed again for the hometown of one of the early settlers, Roanoke, Virginia. The city was officially incorporated in December 1890.
Roanoke has three schools served by Roanoke City Schools: Knight Enloe Elementary (K-3), Handley Middle School (4-8), and Handley High School (9-12). On December 1, 2011, the Handley Tigers won the AHSAA Football Class 3A State Championship.
Physical Therapist Assistant Training Roanoke AL
Choosing the best physical therapist college is an important first decision you need to make to begin a rewarding career in the medical field. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you choose should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are additional critical questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice also. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Physical Therapist Assistant Training. However, as you begin your search for a physical therapy program bear in mind that a number of variables will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You might want to go to different schools to view their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me accomplish 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 field so you can make the right selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Roanoke AL.
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