How to Choose a Physical Therapist College near Clayton 36016
Getting a physical therapy degree near Clayton AL is a critical first step to starting a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled due to illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the proper 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 college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to investigate the ones you are looking at to make sure they will supply a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is enroll in a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated in addition to cost and location. But before we talk about 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 a variety of settings, such as Clayton AL private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Clayton AL medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Offered
There are three physical therapist degrees offered for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short descriptions of degrees that are available in the Clayton AL area:
- Associate Degrees train 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 most often made available by community or junior 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 curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy training to prep candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they normally take 4 years to finish and commonly 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 total commitment seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an important component in addition to the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in some 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 available in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Colleges
Although not as prevalent as the on-campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy programs available, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online part of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Clayton AL residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition can be significantly less than similar on campus options, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you most likely have come to decision regarding several of your initial questions, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you want to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the Clayton AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of school choices. Moreover, you need to make sure that you pick the school that is right for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are considering. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Find out if the schools you are considering have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. 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 college, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call a few Clayton AL physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your program options. It might also be a good idea 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 Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two significant statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Clayton AL area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even outstanding. It also affirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the program you select furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapist schools you are assessing have relationships with Clayton AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Clayton health care community and assist with job placement after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing what the typical 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 decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Clayton AL home. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to bear 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 may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Most DPT colleges offer some type of financial aid to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are examining have a financial assistance department and find out what type of aid is offered. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapy school you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Clayton AL area, confirm 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 carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Clayton Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Clayton AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Clayton has been the county seat since 1834, two years after the creation of Barbour County. Clayton is located geographically in the center of the county. The town was located at the headwaters of the Pea and Choctawhatchee rivers on the historic road from Hobdy's Bridge over the Pea River to Eufaula on the Chattahoochee River. By 1818, there were a few settlers in the area around Clayton, but settlement began in earnest around 1823. The town was named for Augustine S. Clayton, a Georgia jurist and congressman. Clayton became the county seat of Barbour County in 1833 and was laid out on a central courthouse square plan. The first Circuit Court was held in Clayton on September 23, 1833. The Clayton post office was established in September 1835 with John F. Keener as postmaster. Clayton, with a population of 200, was incorporated on December 21, 1841, by the Alabama Legislature. Its first mayor, after incorporation, was John Jackson.
Clayton has a rich heritage with four properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Clayton is also known for its Whiskey Bottle Tombstone, which was featured in Ripley's Believe It or Not!.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Clayton has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps. 
Enroll in the Best Physical Therapy Training Program near Clayton AL
Selecting the ideal physical therapy school is a necessary first decision you need to make to launch a rewarding career in the health care profession. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you pick should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are other important questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapist college, bear in mind that many variables will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You may decide to go to different schools to view their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the best selection. And with the proper training and education, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Clayton AL.
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