How to Pick the Right Physical Therapy Program near Union Springs Alabama
Receiving a physical therapy degree near Union Springs AL is a critical first step to launching a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled due to illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the necessary training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to research those you are looking at to ensure they will provide a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is select a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be evaluated besides cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, 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 a variety of locations, such as Union Springs AL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they create a program of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries
- Heart attacks
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Fire injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Union Springs AL health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Offered
There are three physical therapist degree options available for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the one degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target 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 Union Springs 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 equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are usually provided by community or junior colleges, and take about two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally part of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to ready students to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they normally take 4 years to complete and usually incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to finish, making the total commitment seven years in most cases. Clinical training is an important component along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not just 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 phased out and is no longer available in the United States. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Colleges Online
Although not as prevalent as the more traditional options, there are some accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the school campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online segment of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Union Springs AL home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition might be somewhat less than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding some of your initial questions, like the type of physical therapy degree you would like to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Union Springs AL area and across Alabama, you’ll need to look into other qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of school choices. Moreover, you want to be sure that you choose the school that is ideal for you. That’s why we have collected a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Ask if the programs you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier stated, 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 school, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, starting with requesting 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 as well. Call several Union Springs AL physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your school 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 Percentage? There are a two relevant statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapy programs you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest that students left 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 assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Union Springs AL area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even outstanding. It also verifies that the school has a broad network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you enroll in furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is needed 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, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing have relationships with Union Springs AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Union Springs medical community and assist with job placement after licensing.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Union Springs AL residence. Students who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local 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 may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? Most DPT colleges supply some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance office and see what type of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. Some physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist program you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Union Springs AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Union Springs Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Union Springs AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Union Springs, Alabama
The area that became Union Springs was first settled by white men after the Creek Indian removal of the 1830s. Twenty-seven springs watered the land, giving rise to the name of Union Springs. The city was incorporated on January 13, 1844. When Bullock County was formed in 1866, voters selected Union Springs as the county seat.
Union Springs is located in southeastern Alabama near the center of Bullock County at 32°8'24.407" North, 85°42'46.094" West (32.140113, -85.712804). The source of the Conecuh River is within the city limits.
The city is located at the intersection of U.S. Route 82 and U.S. Route 29. Route 82 leads east 40 miles (64 km) to Eufaula and northwest 46 miles (74 km) to Montgomery, the state capital. Route 29 leads north 23 miles (37 km) to Tuskegee and southwest 40 miles (64 km) to Troy.
Physical Therapy Major Requirements Union Springs AL
Choosing the right physical therapy college is a necessary initial decision you have to make to begin a rewarding career in the medical field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you enroll in should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. However there are other important questions that you need to ask regarding your college of choice also. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Physical Therapy Major Requirements. However, as you commence your search for a physical therapist college keep in mind that numerous variables will guide you to your final decision. You may want to visit different campuses to view their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical 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 be able to narrow down the options so you can make the ideal choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Union Springs AL.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Alabama