How to Pick a Physical Therapist Program near Dauphin Island 36528
Earning a physical therapy degree near Dauphin Island AL is an essential first step to beginning a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated as a result of injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the appropriate education and training. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to investigate those you are looking at to make sure they will deliver a superior education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is choose a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be considered along with cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of locations, such as Dauphin Island AL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they design a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to stop any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Dauphin Island AL health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly 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 degree options offered for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief descriptions of degrees that are available in the Dauphin Island AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are most often offered by junior or community colleges, and require 2 years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually part of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to ready students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally take 4 years to finish and usually incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement in order to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program also must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to finish, making the total investment of time 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential element along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in several 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 United States. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Degrees
While not as prevalent 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, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online portion of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Dauphin Island AL residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition can be significantly lower than comparable on campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
At this point you probably have come to decision regarding some of your initial questions, including the type of physical therapy degree you would like to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the Dauphin Island AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll have to research additional qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Furthermore, you want to make certain that you choose the college that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Find out if the schools you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. 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 enroll in an online school, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can research a PT school’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with some Dauphin Island AL physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your school options. It may also be prudent to check with the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students left because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once 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 Dauphin Island AL area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also verifies that the college has a wide network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you select provides both excellent training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapist programs you are evaluating have partnerships with Dauphin Island AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may help students and graduates form professional relationships in the Dauphin Island healthcare community and help with job placement once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Dauphin Island AL home. Those who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? Most DPT schools offer some form of financial support to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid office and see what type of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapy program you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Dauphin Island AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Dauphin Island Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Dauphin Island AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Dauphin Island, Alabama
Dauphin Island is a town in Mobile County, Alabama, United States, on a barrier island of the same name (split by the Katrina Cut), at the Gulf of Mexico. It incorporated in 1988. The population was 1,238 at the 2010 census. The town is included in the Mobile metropolitan area. The island (originally named "Massacre Island") was renamed for Louis XIV of France's great-grandson and heir, the dauphin, the future Louis XV of France. The name of the island is often mistaken as "Dolphin Island"; dauphin means Prince or Oldest Son of the King in French.
The Gulf of Mexico is to the south of the island; the Mississippi Sound and Mobile Bay are to the north. The island's eastern end helps define the mouth of Mobile Bay. The eastern, wider portion of the island is shaded by thick stands of pine trees and saw palmettos, but the narrow, western part of the island features scrub growth and few trees.
Dauphin Island is home to Fort Gaines, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, The Estuarium public aquarium, the Dauphin Island Airport, boat ramps, a large public pier (that sits on dry land), historic sites, several restaurants, new condominium developments, and numerous private homes. Beaches attract tourism, and fishing is a popular activity in the waters around the island. The island is connected to the mainland by the Gordon Persons Bridge.
Choose the Ideal Physical Therapist College near Dauphin Island AL
Choosing the right physical therapy school is an important first decision you need to make to launch a rewarding career in the medical field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you select should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are other relevant questions that you should ask regarding your college of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist college, keep in mind that numerous variables will guide you to your ultimate decision. You might decide to go to each of the campuses to see their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Dauphin Island AL.
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