How to Find the Right Physical Therapist Program near Evergreen 36401
Earning a physical therapist degree near Evergreen AL is an important first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled due to injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the proper training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research the ones you are considering to ensure they will deliver a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is select a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated along with cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists practice in diverse locations, including Evergreen AL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they develop a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Evergreen AL medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely 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 therapy degree options offered for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief explanations of degrees that are available in the Evergreen AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually provided by junior or community colleges, and take about two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist education to prepare candidates to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally take four years to finish and usually incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required in order to become a licensed practicing 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 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal element along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in a number of states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated 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 prior to the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Schools Online
Although not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online part of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Evergreen AL residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition might be significantly lower than comparable on-campus alternatives, and costs 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 option the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you probably have come to decision concerning a few of your initial questions, like the type of physical therapist degree you would like to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Evergreen AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll need to explore other qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college options. Furthermore, you want to make sure that you enroll in the program that is right for you. That’s why we have put together a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are considering. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions before making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Find out if the programs you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As earlier stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online college, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Contact several Evergreen AL physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your college selections. It might also be prudent to contact 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 Rate? There are a two important statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapy colleges you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Evergreen AL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or even excellent. It also affirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the school you choose provides both excellent training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the physical therapist colleges you are interested in have relationships with Evergreen AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Evergreen medical community and help with job placement once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing what the average 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 determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy school they select will need to be within driving distance of their Evergreen AL residence. 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 local internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even 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 generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Most DPT schools provide some form of financial support to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are looking at have a financial assistance department and see what type of aid is available. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. Some physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapy school 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 need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Evergreen AL area, verify that they are offered. 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 procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Evergreen Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Evergreen AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Evergreen, Conecuh County, Alabama
Early settlers to the area came from Georgia and South Carolina beginning in 1818. Evergreen was founded officially in 1819 when Revolutionary War veteran James Cosey and several other men settled within the present limits of the city. The Reverend Alexander Travis first called the town by its present name of Evergreen for the abundance of surrounding green foliage, plants, and ferns.
The former county seat of Sparta was burned in a federal raid during the Civil War. In 1866, the county seat was moved to Evergreen as it was more centrally located in the county. Evergreen was incorporated as a city on March 28, 1873.
In 1882, a tornado hit the city, destroying every building except for the Episcopal church. On November 7, 1895, fire destroyed every business and house located on the east side of the railroad. Five days later, fire destroyed every business and house on the west side. The Conecuh County Courthouse burned in 1868, 1875, 1885, and 1895.
Select the Right Physical Therapist School near Evergreen AL
Choosing the right physical therapy college is an important initial decision you must make to start a fulfilling career in the health care field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you select should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are other critical questions that you need to ask regarding your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapy school, keep in mind that many factors will lead you to your final decision. You may want to visit different campuses to see their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me realize my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the proper education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Evergreen AL.
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