How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapist College near Alexander City Alabama
Getting a physical therapy degree near Alexander City AL is an important first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research the ones you are considering to make sure they will furnish a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is enroll in a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be considered besides location and cost. But before we discuss 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 is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists work in varying locations, including Alexander City AL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they create a program of treatment to address the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest
- Sports injuries
- Fire injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Alexander City AL medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage several physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapist degree options offered for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short descriptions of degrees that are available in the Alexander City AL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically offered by community or junior colleges, and require 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to ready candidates to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take 4 years to complete and commonly incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the total investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal element in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not just 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 phased out and is no longer attainable in the United States. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Programs
Although not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist degrees 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 school 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 Alexander City AL residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition may be significantly less than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
By now you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning several of your preliminary questions, such as the type 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 numerous PT schools within the Alexander City AL area and across Alabama, you’ll need to look into additional qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of school options. Furthermore, you need to be sure that you pick the program that is right for you. That’s why we have put together a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. 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 select an online program, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to 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 School’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Get in touch with some Alexander City AL physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your program 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 colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of useful statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist colleges you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might mean that students left because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Alexander City AL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or even outstanding. It also verifies that the school has a wide network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the college you select provides both exceptional 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 needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are reviewing have associations with Alexander City AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to get practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Alexander City healthcare community and help with job placement once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy school they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Alexander City AL home. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online 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 program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? Most DPT schools provide some type of financial support to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are considering have a financial assistance office and see what kind of aid is obtainable. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn 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 pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Alexander City AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option 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 because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Alexander City Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Alexander City AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Alexander City, Alabama
Alexander City, known to locals as "Alex City", is a city in Tallapoosa County, Alabama, United States, with a population of some 14,875. It is known for Lake Martin with its 750 miles (1,210 km) of wooded shoreline and 44,000 acres (18,000 ha) of water. Lake Martin stands on the Tallapoosa River and offers boating, swimming, fishing, golfing, and camping. Many neighborhoods and luxury homes are located on the lake. It is located approximately halfway between Birmingham and Columbus, Georgia on U.S. Route 280.
Alexander City was incorporated in 1872 as Youngsville, after its founder James Young. In 1873, the Savannah and Memphis Railroad came to the city. The city was renamed in honor of the railroad's President Edward Porter Alexander, hero of the Battle of Gettysburg for the Confederate States.
On June 13, 1902, at 1 pm, a fire broke out in the Alexander City Machine shop and destroyed much of the town. At the time, Alexander City did not have a water system and all buildings, including the telegraph office, post office and three banks were burned.
Physical Therapy Degrees Alexander City AL
Selecting the ideal physical therapist school is a necessary initial decision you must make to start a fulfilling career in the medical field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you select should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are additional critical questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice as well. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Physical Therapy Degrees. However, as you begin your search for a physical therapist college bear in mind that numerous variables will guide you to your final decision. You may decide to go to each of the campuses to view their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me reach my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the best selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Alexander City AL.
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