How to Find the Right Physical Therapist Training Program near Marion 36756
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Marion AL is an essential first step to starting a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated due to injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, a large number requiring 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 those you are looking at to make sure they will provide a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is select a school just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be considered besides 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 what the educational options are.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in diverse settings, including Marion AL private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to prevent any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Marion AL medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapy degrees available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single 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 preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degrees that are offered in the Marion AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are typically offered by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a portion of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to prepare students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they generally require 4 years to complete 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 3 years to finish, making the overall investment of time 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential component along with the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in some states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated 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 prior to the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Schools Online
While not as prevalent as the more traditional options, 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, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online segment of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Marion AL home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition can be significantly lower than similar on-campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you most likely have come to decision regarding some of your preliminary queries, like the type of physical therapist degree you intend to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Marion AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll need to research additional qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Furthermore, you want to make sure that you enroll in the school that is ideal for you. That’s why we have collected a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist programs you are considering. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As earlier mentioned, 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 program, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapist program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact a few Marion AL physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your college options. It might 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 find out about each of the physical therapy programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Marion AL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even outstanding. It also verifies that the school has a broad network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the program you choose provides both excellent 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 required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements differ 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 Provided? Ask if the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing have relationships with Marion AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Marion health care community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Marion AL residence. Students who have decided 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 consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Most DPT schools provide some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are considering have a financial aid office and see what type of help is obtainable. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. Some physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapist program you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Marion AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Marion Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Marion AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Marion is a city in, and the county seat of, Perry County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 3,686, up 4.8% over 2000. First known as Muckle Ridge, the city was renamed after a hero of the American Revolution, Francis Marion.
Formerly the territory of the Creek Indians, it was founded shortly after 1819 as Muckle Ridge. The city was renamed in honor of Francis Marion, the "Swamp Fox," hero of the American Revolutionary War, in 1822. It incorporated as a town the same year and also became the second county seat after the hamlet of Perry Ridge was unsuitable. In 1829, it upgraded from a town to a city. From the very early days, Marion created considerable history for a small town on the western frontier of Alabama. The old City Hall (1832) is but one of many antebellum public buildings, churches, and homes in the city today.
At the 1844 meeting of the Alabama Baptist State Convention in Marion, the "Alabama Resolutions" were passed. This was one of the factors that led to the 1845 formation of the Southern Baptist Convention in Augusta, Georgia.
Pick the Ideal Physical Therapist Degree Program near Marion AL
Deciding on the best physical therapy school is a necessary first decision you must make to start a fulfilling career in the health care profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you choose should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. However there are other relevant questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist program, keep in mind that a number of factors will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You may want to go to each of the campuses to view their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me accomplish 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 right choice. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Marion AL.
A Few More Interesting Locations in Alabama