How to Choose the Right Physical Therapist College near Sumiton Alabama
Getting a physical therapist degree near Sumiton AL is an important first step to launching a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated as a result of injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the necessary education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to investigate those you are looking at to make certain they will deliver a superior education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is select a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be evaluated besides cost and location. But before we cover 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 is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists work in varying settings, such as Sumiton 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 diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks
- Sports injuries
- Fire injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Sumiton AL health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degree Options
There are three physical therapy degrees available for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degrees that are available in the Sumiton AL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are usually offered by junior or community colleges, and take about two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to prepare candidates to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they normally require four years to finish and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated in order 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 three years to finish, making the total commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an important element in addition to the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in some 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 available in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Online Programs
While not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapy programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to 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 portion of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Sumiton AL home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition may be significantly lower than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenses 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 motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
At this point you probably have made a decision regarding several of your initial questions, such as the type of physical therapist degree you would like to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Sumiton AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll have to research other qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of school options. Also, you want to make sure that you choose the school that is ideal for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions before making an ultimate decision.
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 doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you select an online college, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative 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 organization. Along with ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT school’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with several Sumiton AL physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your school options. It might also be prudent to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of important statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapy schools you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Sumiton AL area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also affirms that the college has a large network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you choose furnishes both superior 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 needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapy colleges you are interested in have relationships with Sumiton AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to get practical experience 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 students and graduates form professional relationships in the Sumiton healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Sumiton AL residence. Those who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need 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 don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? The majority of DPT colleges supply some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Find out if the schools you are considering have a financial aid department and see what kind of help is offered. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools offer 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 Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapist program you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Sumiton AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Sumiton Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Sumiton 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 2,665 people, 1,096 households, and 780 families residing in the city. The population density was 504.9 people per square mile (194.9/km²). There were 1,205 housing units at an average density of 228.3 per square mile (88.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 93.21% White, 3.60% Black or African American, 0.34% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.60% from other races, and 2.06% from two or more races. 0.71% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 1,096 households out of which 28.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.2% were married couples living together, 13.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.8% were non-families. 27.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.89.
In the city, the population was spread out with 21.4% under the age of 18, 9.3% from 18 to 24, 25.8% from 25 to 44, 27.7% from 45 to 64, and 15.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.4 males.
PTA Online Degree Sumiton AL
Selecting the ideal physical therapy college is an important initial decision you have to make to start a gratifying career in the healthcare profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you enroll in should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are additional critical questions that you should ask regarding your college of choice as well. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on PTA Online Degree. However, as you commence your search for a physical therapist college bear in mind that a number of factors will guide you to your final decision. You might want to go to different schools to view their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me reach my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the right selection. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Sumiton AL.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Alabama
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