How to Pick the Right Physical Therapist Training Program near Columbiana Alabama
Getting a physical therapy degree near Columbiana AL is an important first step to beginning a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated due to illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the necessary education and training. A PT must also become licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to investigate those you are thinking about to make certain they will deliver a superior education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is select a college just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be evaluated besides cost and location. But before we discuss 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 is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in diverse settings, including Columbiana AL private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they create a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Burn injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Columbiana AL medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
There are three physical therapy degrees available for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief explanations of degrees that are available in the Columbiana 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 obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are usually made available by community colleges, and take about two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist training to prep students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally require four years to complete and usually incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required in order to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program also must 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 important element in addition to the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in a number of states for licensing also.
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 licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Degrees Online
While not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online part of the course of study can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Columbiana AL home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition may be significantly less than similar on-campus options, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
By now you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding some of your preliminary questions, like the type of physical therapist degree you intend to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are so many PT schools within the Columbiana AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll need to research other qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Moreover, you want to be sure that you choose the school that is best for you. That’s why we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional 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 enroll in an online school, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, beginning 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 organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with some Columbiana AL physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your program 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 schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapy colleges you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest that students left due to dissatisfaction 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 Columbiana AL area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even excellent. It also verifies that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you enroll in provides both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the physical therapist schools you are interested in have partnerships with Columbiana AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may help students and graduates form professional connections in the Columbiana healthcare community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist school they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Columbiana AL home. Students who have decided to attend online classes naturally 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 program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT schools provide some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are considering have a financial assistance office and see what type of help is offered. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. Some physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapy school you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Columbiana AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Columbiana Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Columbiana AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Columbiana, originally called Columbia, was selected as the county seat of Shelby County in 1826 over rivals Calera and Montevallo. After the selection as the county seat, Columbiana celebrated by drilling holes in a large pine tree and packing it with gunpowder. The tree was blown up and the sound could be heard for miles. Later in 1826, the courthouse was moved to an old school building in Columbiana.
An act of the Alabama Legislature officially changed the name of Shelby County's county seat to Columbiana on January 13, 1832. Columbiana was incorporated on December 5, 1837 with corporate limits one-quarter of a mile in each direction from the public square.
In 1854, the decision was made to build a larger courthouse at the south end of “Silk Stocking Road”, now Main Street. From 1854 to 1908 several additions and changes were made to the courthouse. During the American Civil War, Columbiana was connected to the nearby town of Shelby by the Shelby Iron Company Railroad, which connected the Shelby Iron Works to the Alabama and Tennessee River Railroad. The Iron Works supplied iron to the C.B. Churchill and Company foundry, which moved to Columbiana in 1862 after the fall of Corinth, Mississippi. The Churchill foundry made eight and ten pound shot, eight and ten pound shells, and shells for Blakely rifles. The C.B. Churchill and Company foundry, Shelby Iron Works and the railroad were destroyed by Union forces on March 31, 1865, as part of Wilson's Raid.
Physical Therapist Major Columbiana AL
Choosing the best physical therapy program is an important first decision you need to make to begin a rewarding career in the health care field. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you choose should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. But there are additional relevant questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice also. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Physical Therapist Major. However, as you start your search for a physical therapist school bear in mind that numerous variables will lead you toward your final decision. You may want to visit different campuses to see their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me reach 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 training and education, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Columbiana AL.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Alabama
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