How to Find the Right Physical Therapy Program near Fulton 36446
Earning a physical therapy degree near Fulton AL is an important first step to beginning a rewarding career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated due to illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research those you are considering to ensure they will furnish a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is choose a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be considered besides cost and location. But before we cover what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in diverse settings, such as Fulton AL private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Fulton AL medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about 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
There are 3 physical therapist degree options available for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training 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 offered in the Fulton AL area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically provided by community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a component of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist education to prepare students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take 4 years to finish and often include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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 3 years to complete, making the overall commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an important element along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in a number of states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has taken the place of the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer available in the United States. A number of practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Programs Online
Although not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy programs available, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online portion of the curriculum can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Fulton AL home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition can be somewhat less than similar on-campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
By now you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning several of your preliminary questions, like the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Fulton AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll have to research other qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college options. Furthermore, you need to make sure that you select the college that is best for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Find out if the programs you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously 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 earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT school’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call several Fulton AL physical therapy centers or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your school 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 College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Fulton AL area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or even excellent. It also affirms that the program has a large network of contacts to help students obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the school 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 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, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the physical therapy programs you are assessing have relationships with Fulton AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Fulton healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. 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 opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they select will have to be within driving distance of their Fulton AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry 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 perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Most DPT colleges offer some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department and find out what kind of assistance is offered. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapy college you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Fulton AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Fulton Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Fulton AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
As of the census of 2000, there were 308 people, 122 households, and 87 families residing in the town. The population density was 123.6 people per square mile (47.8/km²). There were 139 housing units at an average density of 55.8 per square mile (21.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 82.14% White and 17.86% Black or African American.
There were 122 households out of which 38.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.0% were married couples living together, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.9% were non-families. 27.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.07.
In the town, the population was spread out with 28.2% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 27.6% from 25 to 44, 18.8% from 45 to 64, and 16.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.2 males.
Enroll in the Right Physical Therapist Training Program near Fulton AL
Picking the best physical therapy school is an important first decision you need to make to launch a gratifying career in the health care profession. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you pick should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. However there are other relevant questions that you need to ask regarding your school of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist program, keep in mind that many variables will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You might decide to visit each of the schools to see their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me accomplish 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 ideal choice. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Fulton AL.
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