How to Enroll In a Physical Therapist Degree Program near Dothan 36301
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Dothan AL is an essential first step to launching a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated as a result of injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the proper education and training. A PT must also become licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate the ones you are thinking about to make sure they will deliver a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is select a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be considered along with location and cost. 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, including Dothan AL private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to address the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Dothan AL health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing 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 prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapy degrees offered for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief summaries of degree levels that are offered in the Dothan AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually provided by community colleges, and require two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally part of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy training to prep candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they normally require four years to finish and commonly incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required 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). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to complete, making the total commitment seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal element in addition to the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not just 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 attainable in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Schools Online
Although not as common as the more traditional alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online segment of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Dothan AL residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition might be somewhat less than similar on-campus options, and costs for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
At this point you probably have come to decision regarding some of your initial queries, like the type of physical therapy degree you would like to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Dothan AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll need to explore other qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college choices. Also, you want to make certain that you select the program that is right for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you select an online college, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact some Dothan AL physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your school options. It may 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 School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two important statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean that students left due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Dothan AL area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even exceptional. It also confirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the program you choose furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements 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 therapist program. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing have associations with Dothan AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional connections in the Dothan medical community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Dothan AL home. Individuals who have opted 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 concern. One thing to bear 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 usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? The majority of DPT schools provide some type of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department and see what type of assistance is available. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. Some physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapist college you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Dothan AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Dothan Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Dothan AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Dothan /ˈdoʊθən/ is a city in Dale, Henry, and Houston counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. It is the largest city and county seat of Houston County, with a population of 65,496 at the 2010 census. It is located in the state's southeastern corner, approximately 20 miles (32 km) west of the Georgia state line and 16 miles (26 km) north of Florida. Its name derives from Genesis 37:17: "let us go to Dothan."
Dothan is the principal city of the Dothan, Alabama metropolitan area, which encompasses all of Geneva, Henry, and Houston counties; the small portion that lies in Dale County is part of the Ozark Micropolitan Statistical Area. The combined population for the entire Dothan metropolitan area in 2010 was 145,639. The city serves as the main transportation and commercial hub for a significant part of southeastern Alabama, southwest Georgia, and nearby portions of the Florida Panhandle. Since approximately one-fourth of the U.S. peanut crop is produced nearby, with much of it being processed in the city, Dothan is sometimes referred to as "The Peanut Capital of the World". Dothan also hosts the annual National Peanut Festival at the dedicated "Peanut Festival Fairgrounds".
The area that is now Dothan was inhabited for thousands of years by successive cultures of indigenous peoples. In historic times it was occupied by the Alabama and Creek Native American tribes who were hunters and gatherers in the vast forests of pine that covered this region. These tribes had developed complex cultures, and often used to meet and camp for trading near a large spring at the crossroads of two trails.
Enroll in the Best Physical Therapist Training Program near Dothan AL
Selecting the ideal physical therapist college is a necessary initial decision you must make to launch a fulfilling career in the health care field. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you pick should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are other relevant questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapy college, keep in mind that a number of variables will guide you to your final decision. You might decide to visit different schools to see their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Dothan AL.
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