How to Select a Physical Therapy College near Heflin 36264
Earning a physical therapy degree near Heflin AL is an important first step to starting a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated due to injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to evaluate the ones you are thinking about to make sure they will supply a superior education and meet your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be considered along with cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address 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 Heflin AL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they create a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor 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.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Heflin AL health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Available
There are three physical therapist degrees available for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief summaries of degree levels that are offered in the Heflin AL area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically 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 component of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist training to prepare candidates to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically require 4 years to finish and commonly incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated in order to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program must also 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 investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential component in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, 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 practicing physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Schools
Although not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the curriculum can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Heflin AL residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition might be significantly lower than comparable on campus options, and costs for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
At this point you probably have made a decision regarding a few of your preliminary questions, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you want to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are so many PT schools within the Heflin AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of school choices. Furthermore, you need to be sure that you enroll in the program that is best for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Find out if the programs you are looking at have received 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 select an online school, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can research a PT school’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with several Heflin AL physical therapy clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your college options. It may also be prudent to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two useful statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Heflin AL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or even excellent. It also confirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the college you choose provides both exceptional training and a course of study 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 therapist college. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapy colleges you are assessing have partnerships with Heflin AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Heflin health care community and assist with job placement after licensing.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering what the average 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 determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Heflin AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online obviously 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 keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Most DPT schools supply some form of financial aid to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are considering have a financial aid office and see what kind of assistance is available. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapist school you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Heflin AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Heflin Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Heflin AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Heflin was first settled in 1882 as a station on the railroad line from Atlanta. The town quickly grew and was incorporated in 1886. Until 1905, the County Seat of Cleburne County had been located at Edwardsville. In 1905, an election was held to move the county seat from Edwardsville to Heflin. The election results favored Heflin and were appealed to and upheld by the Alabama Supreme Court on July 1, 1906.
As of the census of 2010, there were 3,480 people, 1,384 households, and 925 families residing in the city. The population density was 216.9 people per square mile (83.7/km²). There were 1,531 housing units at an average density of 93.9 per square mile (36.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 87.3% White, 9.4% Black or African American, 0.5% Native American, 0.1% Asian, 1.0% from other races, and 1.6% from two or more races. 2.4% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 1,384 households out of which 28.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.5% were married couples living together, 13.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.2% were non-families. 29.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.94.
Enroll in the Best Physical Therapy Training Program near Heflin AL
Choosing the ideal physical therapy program is a necessary initial decision you must make to launch a fulfilling career in the health care field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you pick should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are additional important questions that you need to ask regarding your college of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapist school, bear in mind that a number of factors will lead you toward your final decision. You may want to go to each of the campuses to view their facilities and talk with 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 ideal selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Heflin AL.
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