How to Find the Right Physical Therapist Program near Goodwater Alabama
Getting a physical therapist degree near Goodwater AL is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled due to injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the necessary education and training. A PT must also become licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to investigate the ones you are looking at to make certain they will supply a superior education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be considered besides location and cost. But before we discuss 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?
Physical therapists work in a variety of locations, including Goodwater AL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share 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 in many cases pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they create a program of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks
- Sports injuries
- Fire injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Goodwater AL health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Offered
There are three physical therapy degree options available for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degrees that are available in the Goodwater AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are usually made available by community or junior colleges, and require 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally part of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy education to prep candidates to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take 4 years to finish and usually incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required 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 three years to complete, making the overall investment of time seven years in most 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 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 offered in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Schools
Although not as prevalent as the more traditional options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs offered, more so 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 near the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online part of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Goodwater AL residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition can be somewhat less than similar on-campus options, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning several of your initial queries, such as the type of physical therapist degree you would like to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the Goodwater AL area and across Alabama, you’ll have to explore other qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school choices. Furthermore, you need to make sure that you choose the program that is right for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist programs you are considering. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Find out if the schools you are looking at have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As previously 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 college, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, beginning with asking for 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 also. Call several Goodwater AL physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your program selections. It may also be a good idea to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of useful statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist schools you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might mean that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Goodwater AL area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also confirms that the program has a large network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you select furnishes both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing have relationships with Goodwater AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Goodwater healthcare community and help with job placement after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several 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 college they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Goodwater AL home. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing 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 might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually 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 Help Provided? Most DPT schools provide some form of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department and see what type of assistance is available. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapist college you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Goodwater AL area, check 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 enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Goodwater Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Goodwater 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 1,633 people, 621 households, and 424 families residing in the city. The population density was 249.6 people per square mile (96.4/km²). There were 727 housing units at an average density of 111.1 per square mile (42.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 73.30% Black or African American, 25.66% White, 0.31% Native American, 0.12% Asian, 0.06% from other races, and 0.55% from two or more races. 0.55% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
In the city, the population was spread out with 25.3% under the age of 18, 8.3% from 18 to 24, 25.3% from 25 to 44, 23.4% from 45 to 64, and 17.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 87.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $22,188, and the median income for a family was $28,819. Males had a median income of $22,414 versus $17,464 for females. The per capita income for the city was $10,602. About 21.0% of families and 23.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 33.8% of those under age 18 and 12.0% of those age 65 or over.
Physical Therapy Degree Programs Goodwater AL
Deciding on the right physical therapist college is an important first decision you need to make to begin a rewarding career in the medical profession. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you select should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. However there are other relevant questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice as well. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Physical Therapy Degree Programs. However, as you commence your search for a physical therapy college bear in mind that numerous variables will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You may want to visit each of the colleges to see their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed practicing 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 choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Goodwater AL.
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