How to Pick a Physical Therapy Program near Cottonwood 36320
Getting a physical therapy degree near Cottonwood AL is a critical first step to launching a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated due to injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to research those you are looking at to make certain they will provide a superior education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is select a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be considered in addition to 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 what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists work in diverse locations, including Cottonwood AL hospitals, health clinics, 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 previously touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a program of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Cottonwood AL health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are three physical therapy degrees offered for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is attainable to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief explanations of degree levels that are available in the Cottonwood AL area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are most often provided by community colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to prep students to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they typically require 4 years to finish and often include 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 must also be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to complete, making the overall commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal element in addition to the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not only 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 offered in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Programs
Although not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees available, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Cottonwood AL residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition may be significantly less than comparable on campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding several of your preliminary questions, like the type of physical therapy degree you intend to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Cottonwood AL area and across Alabama, you’ll need to explore other qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Furthermore, you want to make certain that you pick the school that is best for you. That’s why we have put together a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are reviewing 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 choose an online program, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact several Cottonwood AL physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your school 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 College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of useful statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist programs you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Cottonwood AL area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also affirms that the program has a large network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the program you choose provides both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria 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) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the physical therapist schools you are assessing have partnerships with Cottonwood AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Cottonwood medical community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Cottonwood 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 importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT schools offer some form of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are considering have a financial assistance office and see what kind of help is available. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. Some physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapy college you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Cottonwood AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Cottonwood Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Cottonwood AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Cottonwood is a town in Houston County, Alabama, United States. One source said the town incorporated in 1901, although the 1910 U.S. Census stated 1903. It is part of the Dothan, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. At the 2010 census the population was 1,289, up from 1,170 in 2000.
Cottonwood is located in southern Houston County at 31°3′13″N 85°18′9″W / 31.05361°N 85.30250°W / 31.05361; -85.30250 (31.053646, -85.302409).Alabama State Route 53 passes through the center of town, leading north 14 miles (23 km) to Dothan and southeast 7 miles (11 km) to the Florida state line. Malone, Florida, is 11 miles (18 km) southeast of Cottonwood.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,170 people, 485 households, and 323 families residing in the town. The population density was 212.9 people per square mile (82.1/km2). There were 548 housing units at an average density of 99.7 per square mile (38.5/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 69.06% White, 29.06% Black or African American, 0.68% Native American, and 1.20% from two or more races. 1.97% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Select the Ideal Physical Therapy Training Program near Cottonwood AL
Deciding on the right physical therapist school is a necessary initial decision you have to make to begin a gratifying career in the healthcare profession. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you enroll in should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are other relevant questions that you should ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapy school, keep in mind that many factors will guide you toward your final decision. You may decide to go to different campuses to see their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me realize 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 right choice. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Cottonwood AL.
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