How to Select the Right Physical Therapy Program near Auburn Alabama
Receiving a physical therapy degree near Auburn AL is an important first step to starting a rewarding career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated as a result of injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to research the ones you are thinking about to make sure they will provide a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not 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 need to be evaluated besides location and cost. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists practice in diverse settings, such as Auburn AL private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also strive to stop any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries
- Heart attacks
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Fire injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Auburn AL health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Offered
There are three physical therapist degree options offered 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 focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief explanations of degrees that are offered in the Auburn AL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually provided by community colleges, and require 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 designed as pre-physical therapy education to prep candidates to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically take four years to finish and usually incorporate 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 also must 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 finish, making the total commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal component along with the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in several 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 available in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Schools Online
While not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Auburn AL home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat less than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
By now you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning some of your preliminary queries, including the kind of physical therapy degree you want to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the Auburn AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll need to explore additional qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of college options. Also, you want to make certain that you choose the program that is ideal for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Ask if the programs you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier 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 college, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can investigate a PT program’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with a few Auburn AL physical therapy clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your program selections. It might 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 Rate? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapist colleges you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Auburn AL area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also affirms that the college has a large network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you choose provides both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies 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) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the physical therapy programs you are reviewing have relationships with Auburn AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to get 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 assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Auburn medical community and help with job placement once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are looking at 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 converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Auburn AL residence. Students who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Most DPT colleges supply some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are looking at have a financial assistance department and see what kind of assistance is available. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapy program you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Auburn AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out 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 Auburn Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Auburn AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Auburn is a city in Lee County, Alabama, United States. It is the largest city in eastern Alabama with a 2016 population of 63,118. It is a principal city of the Auburn-Opelika Metropolitan Area. The Auburn-Opelika, AL MSA with a population of 158,991, along with the Columbus, GA-AL MSA and Tuskegee, Alabama, comprises the greater Columbus-Auburn-Opelika, GA-AL CSA, a region home to 501,649 residents.
Auburn is a historic college town and is the home of Auburn University. It is Alabama's fastest-growing metropolitan area and the nineteenth fastest-growing metro area in the United States since 1990. U.S. News ranked Auburn among its top ten list of best places to live in the United States for the year 2009. The city's unofficial nickname is “The Loveliest Village On The Plains,” taken from a line in the poem The Deserted Village by Oliver Goldsmith: “Sweet Auburn! loveliest village of the plain...”
Inhabited in antiquity by the Creek, the land on which Auburn sits was opened to settlement in 1832 with the Treaty of Cusseta. The first settlers arrived in the winter of 1836 from Harris County, Georgia. These settlers, led by Judge John J. Harper, intended to build a town that would be the religious and educational center for the area.
Physical Therapist Colleges Auburn AL
Deciding on the ideal physical therapy school is an important initial decision you have to make to launch a rewarding career in the health care profession. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you enroll in should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are additional 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 Colleges. However, as you commence your search for a physical therapist college keep in mind that numerous variables will guide you to your final decision. You might decide to visit each of the colleges to view their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me realize my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the proper training and education, you can achieve your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Auburn AL.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Alabama
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Accredited PT & PTA Programs Directory
About CAPTE. The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) accredits physical therapy programs to assure quality -- both that the quality of your course work is high and that the schools produce people qualified to serve the public. In order to take the licensure exam, you must have graduated from a CAPTE-accredited program. The buttons below link to CAPTE's database of ...