How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapy School near Phenix City Alabama
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Phenix City AL is an important first step to beginning a rewarding career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated as a result of injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the proper training and education. A PT must also become licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate the ones you are thinking about to make certain they will supply a superior education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is enroll in a school just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be evaluated in addition to cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists work in varying locations, including Phenix City AL private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously touched on, 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 lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks
- Sports injuries
- Fire injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Phenix City AL health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone thinking about 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 Therapy Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapy degrees available for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are brief explanations of degrees that are available in the Phenix City AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often provided by community colleges, and take about two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy training to ready students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically require 4 years to complete and commonly incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement if you want to become a practicing licensed physical therapist. The degree program also must 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 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an important component in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely 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 eliminated and is no longer available in the USA. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Programs
Although not as prevalent as the on-campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online portion of the program may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Phenix City AL home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition might be significantly lower than comparable on-campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
By now you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning several of your preliminary questions, like the kind 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 since there are numerous PT colleges within the Phenix City AL area and across Alabama, you’ll have to research other qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Moreover, you need to make sure that you enroll in 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 therapy schools you are considering. Ask all of the potential schools these questions before making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national 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 program, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Call a few Phenix City AL physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your college 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 School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Phenix City AL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or even outstanding. It also verifies that the program has a large network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you enroll in provides both excellent training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the physical therapist programs you are interested in have partnerships with Phenix City AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Phenix City healthcare community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist school they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Phenix City AL residence. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you choose 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 usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? The majority of DPT schools provide some type of financial aid to their potential 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 offer work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapist school you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Phenix City AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative 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 because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Phenix City Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Phenix City AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Phenix City, Alabama
Phenix City lies immediately west across the Chattahoochee River from much larger Columbus, Georgia. Sometimes called Hub City, Most of Phenix City is included in the Columbus Metropolitan Statistical Area, but a section is located in Lee County, and is therefore in the Auburn, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. The entire city is part of the Columbus-Auburn-Opelika Combined Statistical Area.
Phenix City is located at 32°28′22″N 85°1′12″W / 32.47278°N 85.02000°W / 32.47278; -85.02000 (32.472822, -85.020121). It is the easternmost settlement in the state of Alabama as well as the Central Time Zone, but it and some other nearby areas unofficially observe Eastern Time, as these areas are part of the metropolitan area of the considerably larger city of Columbus, Georgia, which is in the Eastern Time Zone.
The climate in this area is characterized by relatively high temperatures and evenly distributed precipitation throughout the year. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Phenix City has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
Colleges With Physical Therapy Majors Phenix City AL
Deciding on the right physical therapist program is a necessary initial decision you have to make to start a gratifying career in the healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you decide on should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are additional relevant questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice also. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Colleges With Physical Therapy Majors. However, as you commence your search for a physical therapist college keep in mind that numerous factors will lead you to your final decision. You might want to go to each of the colleges to see their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me accomplish 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 options so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Phenix City AL.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Alabama
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