How to Select the Right Physical Therapy Program near Valley Alabama
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Valley AL is a critical first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated due to illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the necessary education and training. A PT must also become licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research those you are considering to make certain they will deliver a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be evaluated besides location and cost. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of settings, such as Valley AL private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks
- Sports injuries
- Fire injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Valley AL medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapy degrees available for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short descriptions of degrees that are offered in the Valley AL area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically provided by community colleges, and require two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to prep candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While 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 generally take four years to complete and often include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required 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 three years to complete, making the overall commitment seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential element along with the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in a number of 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 offered in the United States. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Schools Online
While not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online portion of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Valley AL home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition may be significantly less than comparable on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
By now you most likely have made a decision concerning several of your initial questions, like the kind of physical therapist degree you want to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the Valley AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college options. Moreover, you need to make certain that you pick the college that is right for you. That’s why we have collected a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are thinking about. Ask each of the competing schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Find out if the programs you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national 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 obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist program and school you select are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can investigate a PT school’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Contact a few Valley AL physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your school selections. It may also be prudent to check with the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Valley AL area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even excellent. It also confirms that the program has a large network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the college you enroll in furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the physical therapist schools you are assessing have partnerships with Valley AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates form professional connections in the Valley medical community and assist with job placement after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Valley AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose 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 generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? Most DPT colleges provide some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Ask 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 securing a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist college you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Valley AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Valley Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Valley AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Chambers County, Alabama
Chambers County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama. As of the 2010 census the population was 34,215. Its county seat is Lafayette. Its name is in honor of Henry H. Chambers, who served as a United States Senator from Alabama.
Chambers County joined its four mill cities to make the city of Valley (which is now the largest city). Valley is rapidly increasing in size and located between Montgomery, Alabama and Atlanta, Georgia.
As of the census of 2010, there were 34,215 people, 13,933 households, and 9,391 families residing in the county. The population density was 57 people per square mile (22/km2). There were 17,004 housing units at an average density of 28 per square mile (11/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 58.8% White (non-Hispanic), 38.7% Black or African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.6% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. 1.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Physical Therapy Major Colleges Valley AL
Picking the right physical therapy program is a necessary initial decision you need to make to launch a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you choose should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. However there are additional relevant questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice as well. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Physical Therapy Major Colleges. However, as you start your search for a physical therapist program keep in mind that a number of factors will guide you to your ultimate decision. You may want to visit different schools to view their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the proper education and training, you can accomplish your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Valley AL.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Alabama
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