How to Choose the Right Physical Therapist Course near Pelham Alabama
Earning a physical therapist degree near Pelham AL is a critical first step to launching a rewarding career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated due to injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the proper training and education. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate those you are thinking about to make certain they will provide a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is choose a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be evaluated in addition to 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 the options for education.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists work in a variety of locations, including Pelham AL private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they design a course of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries
- Heart attacks
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Burn injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Pelham AL medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapy degree options available for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is attainable 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. Below are brief summaries of degree levels that are offered in the Pelham AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically offered by junior or community colleges, and require two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually part of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to prep candidates to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically require four years to complete and often incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 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 finish, making the total commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal component along with the substantial classroom and lab 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 eliminated and is no longer offered in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Schools
While not as common as the more traditional alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapy programs available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Pelham AL residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition might be significantly less than similar on campus alternatives, and expenditures 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 ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
By now you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning a few of your preliminary questions, including the type of physical therapy degree you want to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Pelham AL area and across Alabama, you’ll have to research other qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school choices. Moreover, you want to be sure that you choose the program that is best for you. That’s why we have collected a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential schools these questions before making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Ask if the programs you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. 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 select an online program, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, starting 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 agencies for their reviews as well. Call some Pelham AL physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your school options. It may also be prudent to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of useful statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapy colleges you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might mean that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Pelham AL area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps excellent. It also confirms that the program has a large network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the program you select provides both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the physical therapy schools you are interested in have relationships with Pelham AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional connections in the Pelham healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. 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 speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Pelham AL home. Students who have opted 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 keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? Most DPT schools provide some form of financial aid to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid office and find out what kind of assistance is offered. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapy program you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Pelham AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. 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 Pelham Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Pelham AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Pelham is a city in Shelby County, Alabama, United States. It incorporated in July 1964. At the 2000 census the population was 14,369, but has grown to 21,352 recorded by the 2010 census. It was named for Confederate American Civil War officer John Pelham.
The city is located along U.S. Route 31, which runs directly through the city, as well as I-65, with access from exits 242 and 246. Downtown Birmingham is 20 mi (32 km) north, and Montgomery is 72 mi (116 km) south, both via US-31 or I-65.
As of the census of 2000, there were 14,369 people, 5,637 households, and 4,002 families residing in the city. The population density was 378.2 people per square mile (146.0/km²). There were 5,894 housing units at an average density of 155.1 per square mile (59.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.02% White, 3.97% Black or African American, 0.35% Native American, 1.68% Asian, 2.82% from other races, and 1.16% from two or more races. 6.42% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Physical Therapy Assistant Education Requirements Pelham AL
Choosing the ideal physical therapy program is an important initial decision you need to make to begin a gratifying career in the health care profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you select should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are additional important questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice also. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Physical Therapy Assistant Education Requirements. However, as you begin your search for a physical therapy program bear in mind that numerous variables will lead you to your final decision. You might want to visit different schools to view their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the right choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can achieve your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Pelham AL.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Alabama
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