How to Choose the Right Physical Therapy Course near Tuscumbia Alabama
Getting a physical therapist degree near Tuscumbia AL is a critical first step to starting a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated due to illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the necessary education and training. A PT must also become licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s important to investigate those you are considering to make sure they will supply a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be evaluated along with cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists work in varying settings, including Tuscumbia 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 previously mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they create a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen 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
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries
- Heart attacks
- Sports injuries
- Burn injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Tuscumbia AL medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone considering entering the physical therapy field, it is quite 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 Available
There are 3 physical therapy degrees available for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is attainable to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degrees that are available in the Tuscumbia AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically offered by community colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically part of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to prepare students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally take four years to finish and commonly incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required 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 investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential element along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in some 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 phased out and is no longer available in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Schools
Although not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees available, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Tuscumbia AL residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition might be somewhat less than comparable 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 best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
At this point you probably have come to decision concerning several of your preliminary queries, such as the type of physical therapist degree you would like to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are so many PT colleges within the Tuscumbia AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll need to look into other qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of school choices. Moreover, you want to make sure that you choose the college that is right for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions before making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Ask if the schools 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 earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Contact some Tuscumbia AL physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your school options. It might also be a good idea to check with 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 Percentage? There are a two relevant statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapy programs you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Tuscumbia AL area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even exceptional. It also verifies that the college has a broad network of contacts to help students obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you select furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the physical therapist colleges you are interested in have partnerships with Tuscumbia AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Tuscumbia health care community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Tuscumbia AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT colleges supply some type of financial aid to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are looking at have a financial assistance office and find out what type of help is obtainable. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapy program you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Tuscumbia AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Tuscumbia Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Tuscumbia AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Tuscumbia was the hometown of Helen Keller (Ivy Green) and much of the city is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Tuscumbia Historic District. The city serves as the location for the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.
Tuscumbia had its beginnings when the Michael Dixon family arrived about 1816. They traded with Chief Tucumseh for the Tuscumbia Valley and built their home at the head of the big spring. From these humble dwellings quickly developed a village known as the Big Spring Community. The men of the community requested that the state legislature incorporate them as a city. The town was incorporated in 1820 as Ococoposa and is one of Alabama's oldest towns. In 1821, its name was changed to Big Spring and on December 22, 1822, to Tuscumbia, after the Chief Rainmaker of the Chickasaws.
Although shoals on the nearby Tennessee River made the river nearly impassable, a federal highway completed in 1820 provided the area with good access to markets. Tuscumbia soon became the center for agriculture in northern Alabama. A line to the town on the Tuscumbia, Courtland and Decatur Railroad was completed in 1832, and by 1850 Tuscumbia was a major railroad hub for train traffic throughout the South.
Physical Therapy Programs Online Tuscumbia AL
Picking the right physical therapist program is an important first decision you have to make to start a fulfilling career in the healthcare profession. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you decide on should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are other critical 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 Programs Online. However, as you start your search for a physical therapy college keep in mind that a number of factors will lead you toward your final decision. You might want to visit each of the schools to view their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the ideal selection. And with the proper training and education, you can achieve your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Tuscumbia AL.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Alabama
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