How to Choose the Right Physical Therapist Course near Atmore Alabama
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Atmore AL is an essential first step to starting a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated as a result of illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the necessary education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, 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 necessary to investigate those you are thinking about to ensure they will supply a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is select a school just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be considered in addition to location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in varying locations, such as Atmore 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 diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Burn injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Atmore AL medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy profession, it is rather 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 therapist degrees available for students to pursue 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. Below are brief descriptions of degree levels that are offered in the Atmore AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are typically offered by community or junior colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally part of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to prepare candidates to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they typically require 4 years to finish and usually include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the total commitment seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential element along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in several states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has taken the place of the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer offered in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Online Programs
Although not as prevalent as the more traditional 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, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the curriculum can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Atmore AL home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition may be somewhat lower than comparable on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
At this point you most likely have made a decision concerning a few of your preliminary questions, like the type of physical therapist degree you would like to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Atmore AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll have to research other qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college options. Also, you want to make certain that you choose the college that is ideal for you. That’s why we have collected a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier 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 college, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist program and school you select are accredited, not just the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you choose 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 also. Call some Atmore AL physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your college selections. It may also be a good idea to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapy schools you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, 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 Atmore AL area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also affirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you enroll in furnishes both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements 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 therapist program. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the physical therapist colleges you are interested in have partnerships with Atmore AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Atmore health care community and assist with job placement after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable 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 classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Atmore AL residence. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Most DPT schools provide some form of financial support to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are considering have a financial assistance department and see what kind of aid is obtainable. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapist school you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Atmore AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Atmore Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Atmore AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Atmore is a city in Escambia County, Alabama, United States. It incorporated in 1907. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 10,194, with an estimated population of 10,006 in 2014. Atmore is in the planning stages to increase its economic base with additions in its new Rivercane development along the I-65 corridor.
Atmore has completed requirements to be recognized as an Alabama Community of Excellence at the upcoming Alabama League of Municipalities Convention. City officials are also working with the Alabama Historical Commission to have the downtown district listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Atmore is located in western Escambia County at 31°1′23″N 87°29′31″W / 31.02306°N 87.49194°W / 31.02306; -87.49194 (31.023183, -87.492067). Its southern border is the Florida state line. The center of town is at the intersection of U.S. Route 31 and Alabama State Route 21, while a new section of the city has been incorporated 6 miles (10 km) to the north around Exit 57 of Interstate 65. US 31 leads southwest 20 miles (32 km) to Bay Minette and east 28 miles (45 km) to Brewton. Mobile is 51 miles (82 km) to the southwest via US 31 and I-65, while Pensacola, Florida, is 49 miles (79 km) south via AL 21, Florida State Road 97, and U.S. Route 29.
Physical Therapy Colleges Atmore AL
Choosing the ideal physical therapist school is an important initial decision you must make to begin a gratifying career in the health care profession. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you enroll in should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are additional important questions that you need to ask regarding your college of choice also. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Physical Therapy Colleges. However, as you begin your search for a physical therapy program bear in mind that a number of variables will guide you to your final decision. You might want to visit different colleges to see their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Atmore AL.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Alabama