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Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – Alabaster AL

How to Enroll In a Physical Therapy Degree Program near Alabaster 35007

Alabaster AL physical therapy school student with volunteerGetting a physical therapy degree near Alabaster AL is an important first step to launching a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated as a result of injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the appropriate education and training. A PT must also be licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to investigate those you are considering to ensure they will supply a superior education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be considered besides location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.

What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?

Alabaster AL physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists work in a variety of locations, such as Alabaster AL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Head injuries.
  • Cardiac arrest.
  • Sports injuries.
  • Burn injuries.
  • Knee Replacement.
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Cerebral Palsy.

Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Alabaster AL health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees Offered

Alabaster AL physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are three physical therapy degrees offered for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short summaries of degree levels that are available in the Alabaster 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 obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically offered by community colleges, and require two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a component of the course of study.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy education to ready candidates to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they typically require four years to finish and often incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are a requirement if you want to become a practicing licensed 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 3 years to finish, making the total investment of time seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential component along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not just 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 phased out and is no longer offered in the USA. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapy Online Programs

woman attending physical therapy school online in Alabaster ALWhile not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapy programs available, 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 requires that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Alabaster AL residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition can be somewhat lower than similar on-campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Schools

At this point you most likely have come to decision regarding a few of your preliminary queries, like the type of physical therapy degree you intend to earn, 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 Alabaster AL area and across Alabama, you’ll have to look into other qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Furthermore, you need to make sure that you pick the college that is right for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited?  Ask if the programs you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As earlier 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 program, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the College’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Contact some Alabaster AL physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your program options. It might also be a good idea to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.

What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might mean that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Alabaster AL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even outstanding. It also affirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you choose furnishes both exceptional 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 required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internships Provided? Ask if the physical therapy schools you are assessing have relationships with Alabaster AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Alabaster healthcare community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools 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 determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.

Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Alabaster AL home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online 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 keep 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 have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Support Provided? The majority of DPT colleges offer some type of financial support to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department and see what type of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. Some physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance may be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapy college you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Alabaster AL area, check that they are offered. 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 carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Alabaster Alabama?

If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Alabaster AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.

Alabaster, Alabama

Alabaster is a city and southern suburb of Birmingham in Shelby County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census, the population was 30,352. According to the 2013 Census Estimates, the city had a population of 31,342. Alabaster is the 16th largest city in Alabama by number of residents.[2]

Alabaster mostly occupies the Cahaba and Opossum Valleys, which are divided by the Pine Ridge that runs north to south. To the east and west, both valleys are flanked by parallel mountain ridges that locally run north to south, but are a part of a larger system of ridges that generally runs north-east to south-west (the tailing ends of the Appalachian foothills). The valleys are drained by small creeks (Buck Creek, Beaverdam Creek) which flow into the Cahaba River.[5]

George L. Scott, Sr., an Alabaster pioneer, owned and operated Alabaster Lime Co. His shipping point was known as “Scott Rock.” Later, housing was built to accommodate some of the employees, and the community acquired its name Alabaster from the "white calcium carbonate mineral." The First Bank of Alabaster opened in 1952, and its president was George L. Scott, Jr., who later became the first mayor of Alabaster. The first attempt in 1952 to incorporate Alabaster failed. In January 1953, the petition was again filed, and on February 23, 1953, Alabaster was officially incorporated with a favorable vote of 79 to 23, and 427 residing inhabitants. In 1955, the Alabaster Water and Gas Board was formed.[6]

Select the Ideal Physical Therapy School near Alabaster AL

Selecting the right physical therapy school is a necessary first decision you must make to begin a gratifying career in the medical field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you choose should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are additional relevant questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapist college, bear in mind that many factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You may decide to visit each of the schools to see their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me realize 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 field so you can make the ideal choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Alabaster AL.

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