How to Select the Right Physical Therapist Course near Laceys Spring Alabama
Earning a physical therapy degree near Laceys Spring AL is a critical first step to launching a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated as a result of illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the appropriate training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to investigate the ones you are looking at to ensure they will deliver a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be evaluated besides cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists practice in varying settings, such as Laceys Spring AL private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they create a program of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also strive to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries
- Cardiac arrest
- Sports injuries
- Burn injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Laceys Spring AL medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often 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 therapist degree options available for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief descriptions of degree levels that are offered in the Laceys Spring AL area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees 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 portion of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to prepare candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take 4 years to complete and usually incorporate 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). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the total commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an important element in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not just for graduation but in several states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer offered in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Schools Online
Although not as common as the on campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapy programs available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the curriculum can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Laceys Spring AL residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition can be somewhat less than similar on campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
By now you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding a few of your preliminary questions, including the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the Laceys Spring AL area and across Alabama, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of college options. Moreover, you want to make sure that you pick the college that is best for you. That’s why we have collected a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. 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 choose an online college, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy school and program you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing 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 Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist community. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT college’s reputation, beginning with requesting 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 also. Call a few Laceys Spring AL physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your program selections. It might also be a good idea to check with the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two important statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapist programs you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students left due to 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 college’s job placement program, particularly in the Laceys Spring 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 confirms that the college has a broad network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the college you select provides both superior training and a curriculum that supports 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) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the physical therapy colleges you are assessing have associations with Laceys Spring 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 an ancillary benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Laceys Spring healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing what the average 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 an opportunity to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Laceys Spring AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry 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 need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly 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 Offered? The majority of DPT colleges supply some form of financial support to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance office and find out what type of aid is available. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapy college you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Laceys Spring AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Laceys Spring Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Laceys Spring AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Lacey's Spring, Alabama
Lacey's Spring is an unincorporated community in northeastern Morgan County, Alabama, United States at the base of Brindlee Mountain. It is included in the Decatur Metropolitan Area, as well as the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area.
Doctorate Physical Therapy Laceys Spring AL
Picking the best physical therapist program is a necessary initial decision you must make to begin a rewarding career in the medical field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you pick should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are additional relevant questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice as well. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Doctorate Physical Therapy. However, as you start your search for a physical therapy program keep in mind that numerous factors will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You might decide to go to different colleges to see their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important 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 have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Laceys Spring AL.
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