How to Choose the Right Physical Therapist College near Evergreen Alabama
Obtaining a physical therapy degree near Evergreen AL is an essential first step to launching a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated due to illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the proper training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s important to investigate the ones 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 enroll in a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be evaluated besides cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in diverse locations, including Evergreen AL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest
- Sports injuries
- Burn injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Evergreen AL medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapy degree options available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the one degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short explanations of degrees that are offered in the Evergreen AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually provided by community or junior colleges, and require two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a portion of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist education to prepare students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they normally take four years to complete and commonly include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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 complete, making the overall commitment seven years in most cases. Clinical training is an essential component in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in some 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 attainable in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Colleges Online
Although not as common as the more traditional alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, 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 requires that the student live near the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online part of the curriculum can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Evergreen AL residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat lower than similar on campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing 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.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding some of your initial queries, including the type of physical therapy degree you intend to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the Evergreen AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll need to research other qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Moreover, you want to be sure that you choose the college that is right for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy colleges you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously mentioned, 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 program, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Call a few Evergreen AL physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your college options. It might also be prudent 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 should find out about all of the physical therapist programs you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students left due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Evergreen AL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also affirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you choose provides both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the physical therapist schools you are interested in have associations with Evergreen AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to get hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional connections in the Evergreen health care community and assist with job placement after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Evergreen AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? Most DPT schools offer some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are examining have a financial aid department and see what type of help is available. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. Some physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapy school you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Evergreen AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Evergreen Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Evergreen AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Evergreen, Conecuh County, Alabama
Early settlers to the area came from Georgia and South Carolina beginning in 1818. Evergreen was founded officially in 1819 when Revolutionary War veteran James Cosey and several other men settled within the present limits of the city. The Reverend Alexander Travis first called the town by its present name of Evergreen for the abundance of surrounding green foliage, plants, and ferns.
The former county seat of Sparta was burned in a federal raid during the Civil War. In 1866, the county seat was moved to Evergreen as it was more centrally located in the county. Evergreen was incorporated as a city on March 28, 1873.
In 1882, a tornado hit the city, destroying every building except for the Episcopal church. On November 7, 1895, fire destroyed every business and house located on the east side of the railroad. Five days later, fire destroyed every business and house on the west side. The Conecuh County Courthouse burned in 1868, 1875, 1885, and 1895.
Physical Therapist Assistant Program Evergreen AL
Choosing the ideal physical therapy college is an important first decision you must make to start a fulfilling career in the medical profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you choose should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But 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 Assistant Program. However, as you start your search for a physical therapy program keep in mind that a number of variables will lead you toward your final decision. You may decide to go to each of the campuses to view their facilities and talk to active 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 adhering to our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the best selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Evergreen AL.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Alabama