How to Choose a Physical Therapist Program near Blountsville 35031
Obtaining a physical therapy degree near Blountsville AL is an important first step to starting a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated as a result of injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the appropriate training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate those you are looking at to ensure they will supply a quality education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is select a college just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to 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 what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists work in varying locations, such as Blountsville 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 diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. While 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.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Blountsville AL health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
There are 3 physical therapist degrees offered for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is attainable to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief summaries of degrees that are offered in the Blountsville AL area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually provided by community colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally part of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to prep candidates to move up 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. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take four years to finish and commonly include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want 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 finish, making the total investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an important element in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not solely 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 offered in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Online Colleges
Although not as common as the on campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapist programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school 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 Blountsville AL home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition may be significantly lower than comparable on-campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning a few of your initial questions, such as the type of physical therapist degree you want to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are so many PT schools within the Blountsville AL area and across Alabama, you’ll need to research other qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Moreover, you want to be sure that you choose the college that is best for you. That’s why we have put together a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Find out if the schools you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As previously mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you enroll in an online school, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call some Blountsville AL physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your program selections. It may also be prudent to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist schools you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might mean that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Blountsville AL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also affirms that the college has a large network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you select provides both excellent training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the physical therapy colleges you are assessing have associations with Blountsville AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Blountsville medical community and help with job placement after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering what the typical student to teacher 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 a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Blountsville AL residence. Students who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? The majority of DPT colleges supply some form of financial support to their prospective students. Ask if the schools you are looking at have a financial assistance department and see what type of aid is offered. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist school you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Blountsville AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Blountsville Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Blountsville AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Blount County was created by the Alabama territorial legislature on February 6, 1818, from land ceded to the federal government by the Creek Nation on August 9, 1814. It was named for Gov. Willie G. Blount of Tennessee, who provided assistance to settlers in Alabama during the Creek War of 1813-14. It lies in the northeastern section of the state, generally known as the mineral region.
What became Blountsville appears on an 1819 map as the mixed Creek/Cherokee Native American village of "Wassausey" (meaning Bear Meat Cabin, the name of an Indian translator who lived there). The town was established by Caleb Fryley and Johnny Jones in 1816 as Bear Meat Cabin. The post office was opened as Blountsville on October 20, 1825, and incorporated on December 13, 1827. It was the county seat until 1889 when the government was moved to Oneonta.
There were many schools in the town in the early years: The Academy, Blount College and the District Agricultural School, plus the public schools. The Blount County Courthouse and jail was built in 1833 and remained there until it was moved to Oneonta. A major crossroads in early Alabama, Blountsville became a Confederate depot for the cavalry. Confederate forces led by General Nathan Bedford Forrest and Union forces led by General Abel Streight skirmished briefly in the town on May 1, 1863, and Major General Lovell H. Rousseau and his Union cavalry occupied the town in July 1864. Blount College was in the building that was originally the courthouse. It was established in 1890. The beautiful Blountsville United Methodist Church was established in 1818 and is the oldest building in Blountsville and is still in use today. Another old building in Blountsville was once known as the Barclift House. Built in 1834 as Hendricks Tavern, it is now owned and is being restored by the Ortiz family.
Choose the Right Physical Therapist Degree Program near Blountsville AL
Choosing the best physical therapist college is an important initial decision you need to make to launch a gratifying career in the healthcare profession. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you select should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are other relevant questions that you should ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist program, bear in mind that many factors will guide you toward your final decision. You may want to visit each of the colleges to see their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the right choice. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Blountsville AL.
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