How to Pick a Physical Therapist Degree Program near Jasper 35501
Receiving a physical therapy degree near Jasper AL is a critical first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled due to injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the proper training and education. A PT must also become licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to investigate the ones you are looking at to ensure they will provide a superior education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is choose a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be evaluated in addition to location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in varying settings, including Jasper AL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they create a course of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Jasper AL health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to take note of for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Available
There are three physical therapy degrees offered for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short summaries of degrees that are offered in the Jasper AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are usually made available by community or junior colleges, and take about 2 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 ready students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically take four years to complete and usually incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required if you want to become a practicing licensed 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 3 years to complete, making the overall commitment seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal component along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not only 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 offered in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Colleges
Although not as common as the more traditional alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist programs offered, more so 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 near the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Jasper AL home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition might be significantly less than similar on-campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
By now you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning a few of your preliminary queries, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you want to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Jasper AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll need to explore additional qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of school choices. Furthermore, you want to make sure that you enroll in the program that is right for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Find out if the programs you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As earlier mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you enroll in an online program, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy school and program you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Call several Jasper AL physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your program options. It might 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 colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two significant statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapy colleges you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest that students left due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Jasper AL area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also confirms that the college has a large network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the program you choose provides both exceptional training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the physical therapist programs you are assessing have relationships with Jasper AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Jasper health care community and assist with job placement once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Jasper AL home. Those who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might 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 for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? The majority of DPT schools supply some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are considering have a financial assistance office and see what kind of aid is available. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapist college you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Jasper AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Jasper Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Jasper AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Jasper is a city in and the county seat ofWalker County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census, its population was 14,352, up from 14,052 in 2000. It is the county seat of Walker County. The city was once ranked among the world's leading producers of coal.
The first significant growth of the area was realized in 1886, when the Kansas City-Memphis & Birmingham and the Sheffield & Birmingham Railroads were completed through Jasper. The population grew from 200 people in 1886 to more than 3,000 in 1890. In a special edition in 1891, the Mountain Eagle stated there were six coal mines, two sandstone quarries, 400 coke ovens, one foundry and machine shop, two saw mills, one brick works, four hotels, and two banks.
Jasper has several sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. These include the John Hollis Bankhead House, First United Methodist Church, Jasper Downtown Historic District, and Walker County Hospital.
Select the Best Physical Therapy College near Jasper AL
Selecting the best physical therapy college is an important initial decision you have to make to launch a gratifying career in the health care field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you select should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. But there are additional relevant questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapy college, keep in mind that a number of variables will guide you to your final decision. You might want to go to different campuses to see their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the best choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Jasper AL.
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