How to Choose a Physical Therapy College near Excel 36439
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Excel AL is a critical first step to beginning a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled 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 must get the proper training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research the ones you are looking at to ensure they will deliver a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is choose a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be evaluated along with location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists work in varying locations, including Excel 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 patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to address the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Excel AL health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapist degree options available for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief descriptions of degrees that are available in the Excel 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 obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are typically provided by community colleges, and take about two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically part of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to prepare candidates to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally require 4 years to finish and usually 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 must also 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 overall investment of time 7 years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an important element along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in several states for licensing also.
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 United States. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Programs Online
Although not as prevalent as the more traditional alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees available, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the school campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online segment of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Excel AL home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition might be significantly less than similar on-campus options, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
At this point you probably have come to decision concerning some of your initial queries, including the type of physical therapist degree you intend to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the Excel AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll need to research other qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of college options. Moreover, you need to make certain that you enroll in the college that is right for you. That’s why we have collected a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are considering. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Find out if the programs you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As previously 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 college, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call a few Excel AL physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your college selections. It may also be a good idea 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 all of the physical therapist colleges you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might mean that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Excel AL area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or even exceptional. It also confirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the program you enroll in furnishes both exceptional 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. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapy schools you are evaluating have partnerships with Excel AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Excel medical community and assist with job placement once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are researching 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 decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Excel AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even 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 typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Most DPT colleges supply some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department and find out what kind of assistance is available. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. Some physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapy school you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Excel AL area, confirm that they are offered. 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 have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Excel Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Excel AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Excel is the birthplace of former University of Alabama and Dallas Cowboys linebacker Lee Roy Jordan. Excel High School (3A) provides education for children in and around the town of Excel. Businesses within the town include Dollar General, post office, a "do-it-yourself" car wash, a laundromat, hardware store, a locally-run diner and one bank.
As of the census of 2010, there were 723 people, 270 households, and 205 families residing in the town. The population density was 425.3 people per square mile (168.1/km2). There were 295 housing units at an average density of 173.5 per square mile (68.6/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 91.1% White, 5.0% Black or African American, 1.4% Native American, 0.1% some other race, and 2.4% from two or more races. 0.7% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 270 households out of which 41.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.6% were headed by married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.1% were non-families. 21.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.4% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.68, and the average family size was 3.11.
Select the Best Physical Therapist School near Excel AL
Selecting the ideal physical therapist college is an important first decision you must make to begin a gratifying career in the health care field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you choose should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are other critical questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapy school, bear in mind that numerous variables will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You may decide to visit each of the schools to view their facilities and talk to current 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 following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the ideal choice. And with the proper training and education, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Excel AL.
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