How to Choose the Right Physical Therapy Training Program near Bessemer Alabama
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Bessemer AL is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the necessary education and training. A PT must also become licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to investigate the ones you are thinking about to ensure they will supply a superior education and meet your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is enroll in a school just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be considered besides location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists work in a variety of locations, such as Bessemer AL private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. 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 patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Burn injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Bessemer AL medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
There are 3 physical therapy degrees available for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either preparing 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 available in the Bessemer AL area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are usually offered by community colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually part of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to prepare candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically require 4 years to complete and commonly include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated in order to become a practicing licensed 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 commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an intregal component along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Consequently 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 holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Programs Online
While not as common as the more traditional options, there are some accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of 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 in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online part of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Bessemer AL home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition can be significantly lower than similar on campus options, and costs 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 option the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
By now you most likely have come to decision concerning a few of your initial questions, like the kind of physical therapist degree you intend to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Bessemer AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll have to explore other qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of college choices. Moreover, you need to make sure that you select the school 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 programs you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. 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 school, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Contact some Bessemer AL physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your college selections. It may also be prudent to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist schools you are considering. 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 hired with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Bessemer AL area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even outstanding. It also affirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the program you enroll in provides both exceptional 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 needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the physical therapy programs you are reviewing have associations with Bessemer AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to receive practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Bessemer healthcare community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Bessemer AL home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Support Provided? The majority of DPT schools provide some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have a financial aid office and find out what kind of help is available. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. A number of physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapist college you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Bessemer AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Bessemer Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Bessemer AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Bessemer is a city southwest of Birmingham in Jefferson County, Alabama, United States. The population was 27,456 at the 2010 Census. It is within the Birmingham-Hoover, AL Metropolitan Statistical Area, of which Jefferson County is the center. It developed rapidly as an industrial city in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The town was founded in the postbellum era by the Bessemer Land and Improvement Company, named after Henry Bessemer and owned by coal magnate Henry F. DeBardeleben. He had inherited Daniel Pratt's investments. The mayor and councilmen voted to incorporate the city of Bessemer on September 9, 1887. Located 16 miles southwest of Birmingham, Bessemer grew rapidly and its promoters believed that it might overtake the other city in economic power.
Given the iron ore, coal and limestone deposits in the area, the city became a center of steelmaking from about 1890 through the 20th century. It attracted rural migrants from across the South, as well as European immigrants. By the 1950s, the city was majority African American in population.
Physical Therapy Graduate Schools Bessemer AL
Choosing the right physical therapist program is an important initial decision you need to make to begin a fulfilling career in the health care field. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you pick should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. However there are other critical questions that you need to ask regarding your school of choice as well. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Physical Therapy Graduate Schools. However, as you begin your search for a physical therapy college keep in mind that a number of factors will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You may decide to go to each of the campuses to see their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me reach 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 choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Bessemer AL.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Alabama
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