How to Pick the Right Physical Therapist College near Sylacauga Alabama
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Sylacauga AL is an essential first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled due to injury or illness regain 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 additionally be licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to evaluate those you are considering to ensure they will supply a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is select a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated in addition to location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of locations, such as Sylacauga AL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. 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 individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Burn injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Sylacauga AL medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
There are three physical therapist degrees available for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degree levels that are offered in the Sylacauga AL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to practice as 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 typically made available by junior or community colleges, and require two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a portion of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to prepare candidates to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically require 4 years to finish and often incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated in order to become a licensed practicing 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 3 years to complete, making the overall investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential component along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in several states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer offered in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Schools Online
Although not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist degrees available, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the course of study can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Sylacauga AL residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition might be significantly lower than similar on-campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
By now you most likely have made a decision concerning some of your initial questions, including the kind of physical therapist degree you want to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are so many PT schools within the Sylacauga AL area and across Alabama, you’ll need to research other qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school options. Furthermore, you need to make certain that you enroll in the college that is right 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 each of the competing colleges these questions prior to making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Ask if the programs you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. 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 enroll in an online program, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are a number of ways you can research a PT school’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call several Sylacauga AL physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your college 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 schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two relevant statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Sylacauga AL area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps excellent. It also verifies that the school has a large network of contacts to help students get internships or employment after graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the school you select provides both superior training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements 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 therapy school. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the physical therapist schools you are evaluating have partnerships with Sylacauga AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Sylacauga health care community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Sylacauga AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Most DPT schools provide some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Ask if the colleges you are examining have a financial aid department and see what kind of assistance is offered. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. Some physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapy school you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Sylacauga AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Sylacauga Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Sylacauga AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Sylacauga is known for its fine white marble bedrock. This was discovered shortly after settlers moved into the area and has been quarried ever since. The marble industry was the first recorded industry in the Sylacauga area.
Sylacauga is the site of the first documented case of an object from outer space hitting a person. On November 30, 1954, a 4 kg (9 lb) piece of what became known as the Hodges Meteorite crashed through the roof of an Oak Grove house, bounced off a radio, and badly bruised Mrs. Ann Hodges, who was taking an afternoon nap.
The first historical account of the area comes from de Soto's chroniclers as he marched south along the east bank of the Coosa River in 1540, encountering the town of Talisi at the edges of the Mississippian-era chiefdoms of Coosa and Tuskaloosa. The inhabitants of the Coosa River Valley were later united as the Creek Indians, whose encounters with the Spanish and French had a significant influence on the history of Sylacauga. Events that occurred between these three groups were partly responsible for the settlement of the village of Chalakagay in 1748 near modern Sylacauga by refugee Shawnee Indians led by Peter Chartier, and Chalakagay was later listed in the French territorial records in 1759 as being a town inhabited by 50 Shawnee Indian warriors. Late in the summer of 1836 all of the Indians remaining in Alabama were taken west by the United States government. The name Sy-la-cau-ga is derived from the Indian words Chalaka-ge which mean "The Place of the Chalaka Tribe". The city was first incorporated in 1838 as Syllacoga and again in 1887 as Sylacauga.
PTA To PT Programs Sylacauga AL
Deciding on the best physical therapy program is an important first decision you have to make to start a gratifying career in the health care profession. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you decide on should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. But there are other critical questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on PTA To PT Programs. However, as you start your search for a physical therapist program bear in mind that many variables will lead you toward your final decision. You might want to go to different schools to see their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the best choice. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Sylacauga AL.
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