How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapist School near Fulton Alabama
Earning a physical therapy degree near Fulton AL is an important first step to starting a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the necessary training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research those you are looking at to ensure they will furnish a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be evaluated along with 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 the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists practice in diverse locations, such as Fulton AL private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also strive to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks
- Sports injuries
- Fire injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Fulton AL health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Offered
There are three physical therapist degrees available for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief explanations of degrees that are available in the Fulton AL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to become 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 GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically provided by community colleges, and take about two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically a portion of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to prep students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they typically require 4 years to finish and commonly incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required if you want 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 complete, making the total investment of time seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal component in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not only 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 phased out and is no longer available in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Schools Online
While not as common as the more traditional alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapist degrees available, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Fulton AL residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition can be somewhat lower than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you probably have made a decision concerning several of your preliminary questions, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you want to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Fulton AL area and across Alabama, you’ll have to look into other qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of college options. Furthermore, you need to make sure that you choose the program that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Ask if the schools 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 enroll in an online school, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy school and program you select are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can investigate a PT school’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Call a few Fulton AL physical therapy centers or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your school options. 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 colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two relevant statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapy schools you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Fulton AL area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even exceptional. It also verifies that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you enroll in furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In each 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 differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the physical therapy schools you are interested in have relationships with Fulton AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Fulton medical community and help with job placement once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer 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 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 speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Fulton AL residence. Students who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required 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 Assistance Offered? Most DPT schools provide some type of financial aid to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are considering have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of assistance is offered. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. Some physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapy school you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fulton AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses 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 work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Fulton Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Fulton AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
As of the census of 2000, there were 308 people, 122 households, and 87 families residing in the town. The population density was 123.6 people per square mile (47.8/km²). There were 139 housing units at an average density of 55.8 per square mile (21.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 82.14% White and 17.86% Black or African American.
There were 122 households out of which 38.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.0% were married couples living together, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.9% were non-families. 27.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.07.
In the town, the population was spread out with 28.2% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 27.6% from 25 to 44, 18.8% from 45 to 64, and 16.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.2 males.
Physical Therapy Schools Online Fulton AL
Selecting the right physical therapist school is a necessary first decision you have to make to launch a gratifying career in the healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you pick should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are additional 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 Schools Online. However, as you start your search for a physical therapist school bear in mind that a number of factors will guide you to your final decision. You might decide to go to each of the schools to view their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me realize my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the ideal choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Fulton AL.
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