How to Find the Right Physical Therapist Training Program near Blountsville Alabama
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Blountsville AL is an important first step to starting a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated as a result of injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the necessary education and training. A PT must also be licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate the ones you are thinking about to make certain they will furnish a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is enroll in a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be considered in addition to cost and location. But before we talk about 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 practice in a variety of locations, including Blountsville AL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers 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 earlier touched on, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks
- Sports injuries
- Fire injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Blountsville AL health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to take note of for anyone considering entering the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are three physical therapist degree options offered for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is available 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 advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief explanations of degree levels that are offered in the Blountsville AL area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often made available by junior or community colleges, and require two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to prepare students to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they generally require four years to complete and often include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated in order 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 finish, making the total investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an important element in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in several states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has taken the place of the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer attainable in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Schools
While not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online segment of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Blountsville AL home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat less than similar on-campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
By now you most likely have made a decision concerning several of your initial queries, including the type of physical therapy degree you intend to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the Blountsville AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll need to explore other qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college options. Also, you need to make sure that you choose the college that is best for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist programs you are considering. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Ask if the programs you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. 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 school, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. 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 can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Get in touch with a few Blountsville AL physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your college selections. It may also be a good idea to check with the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Blountsville AL area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps excellent. It also verifies that the college has a broad network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the school you select provides both superior training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria 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 program. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the physical therapist programs you are interested in have relationships with Blountsville AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way 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 may help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Blountsville medical community and assist with job placement after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they select will need to be within driving distance of their Blountsville AL home. Those who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Support Provided? Most DPT colleges provide some form of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of aid is offered. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. Some physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapist college you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Blountsville AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Blountsville Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Blountsville AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Blount County was created by the Alabama territorial legislature on February 6, 1818, from land ceded to the federal government by the Creek Nation on August 9, 1814. It was named for Gov. Willie G. Blount of Tennessee, who provided assistance to settlers in Alabama during the Creek War of 1813-14. It lies in the northeastern section of the state, generally known as the mineral region.
What became Blountsville appears on an 1819 map as the mixed Creek/Cherokee Native American village of "Wassausey" (meaning Bear Meat Cabin, the name of an Indian translator who lived there). The town was established by Caleb Fryley and Johnny Jones in 1816 as Bear Meat Cabin. It became a popular stop for westward-bound settlers who streamed into the area at the end of the Creek War. The post office was opened as Blountsville on October 20, 1825, and incorporated on December 13, 1827. It was the county seat until 1889 when the government was moved to Oneonta.
There were many schools in the town in the early years: The Academy, Blount College and the District Agricultural School, plus the public schools. The Blount County Courthouse and jail was built in 1833 and remained there until it was moved to Oneonta. A major crossroads in early Alabama, Blountsville became a Confederate depot for the cavalry. Confederate forces led by General Nathan Bedford Forrest and Union forces led by General Abel Streight skirmished briefly in the town on May 1, 1863, and Major General Lovell H. Rousseau and his Union cavalry occupied the town in July 1864. Blount College was in the building that was originally the courthouse. It was established in 1890. The beautiful Blountsville United Methodist Church was established in 1818 and is the oldest building in Blountsville and is still in use today. Another old building in Blountsville was once known as the Barclift House. Built in 1834 as Hendricks Tavern, it is now owned and is being restored by the Ortiz family.
Physical Therapy Education Blountsville AL
Deciding on the best physical therapist program is an important first decision you have to make to begin a rewarding career in the healthcare profession. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you select should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. However there are additional important questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice also. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Physical Therapy Education. However, as you start your search for a physical therapist college keep in mind that numerous variables will guide you to your final decision. You may want to go to different colleges to see their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the right choice. And with the proper education and training, you can accomplish your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Blountsville AL.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Alabama