How to Choose a Physical Therapist School near Auburn 36830
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Auburn AL is an important first step to beginning a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated as a result of injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the necessary education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate those you are looking at to ensure they will supply a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be considered along with location and cost. But before we talk about 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?
Physical therapists work in a variety of settings, including Auburn 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 suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they design a program of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Auburn AL health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapist degree options offered for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the one degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief explanations of degrees that are available in the Auburn AL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are typically made available by community colleges, and require 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to prepare candidates to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally take 4 years to complete and usually incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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 overall commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an important element in addition to the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not just 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 phased out and is no longer offered in the USA. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Programs
While not as prevalent as the more traditional alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online part of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Auburn AL residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat less than similar on campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools 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 learn at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
By now you probably have come to decision regarding a few of your preliminary questions, including the type of physical therapist degree you intend to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the Auburn AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll need to research other qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of school choices. Moreover, you want to make sure that you enroll in the program that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have received 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 program, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT school’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact some Auburn AL physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your college selections. It may also be a good idea to check with the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist programs you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Auburn AL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or even outstanding. It also verifies that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the program you enroll in furnishes both superior 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) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the physical therapist programs you are reviewing have associations with Auburn AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional connections in the Auburn health care community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Auburn AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. 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 may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? The majority of DPT colleges offer some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are examining have a financial aid office and find out what type of assistance is available. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapist program you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Auburn AL area, check 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, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Auburn Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Auburn AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Auburn is a city in Lee County, Alabama, United States. It is the largest city in eastern Alabama with a 2016 population of 63,118. It is a principal city of the Auburn-Opelika Metropolitan Area. The Auburn-Opelika, AL MSA with a population of 158,991, along with the Columbus, GA-AL MSA and Tuskegee, Alabama, comprises the greater Columbus-Auburn-Opelika, GA-AL CSA, a region home to 501,649 residents.
Auburn is a historic college town and is the home of Auburn University. It is Alabama's fastest-growing metropolitan area and the nineteenth fastest-growing metro area in the United States since 1990. U.S. News ranked Auburn among its top ten list of best places to live in the United States for the year 2009. The city's unofficial nickname is “The Loveliest Village On The Plains,” taken from a line in the poem The Deserted Village by Oliver Goldsmith: “Sweet Auburn! loveliest village of the plain...”
Inhabited in antiquity by the Creek, the land on which Auburn sits was opened to settlement in 1832 with the Treaty of Cusseta. The first settlers arrived in the winter of 1836 from Harris County, Georgia. These settlers, led by Judge John J. Harper, intended to build a town that would be the religious and educational center for the area.
Choose the Ideal Physical Therapist Training Program near Auburn AL
Choosing the ideal physical therapist college is an important first decision you have to make to launch a gratifying career in the health care field. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you decide on should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. However there are other relevant questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapy program, bear in mind that numerous variables will lead you to your ultimate decision. You may want to visit each of the campuses to view their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the best selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Auburn AL.
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