How to Choose a Physical Therapy Program near Alexander City 35010
Getting a physical therapy degree near Alexander City AL is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled as a result of injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate the ones you are looking at to ensure they will provide a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be evaluated 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 practice in diverse settings, such as Alexander City AL private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to address the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop 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
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Alexander City AL health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapy degrees offered for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short summaries of degrees that are available in the Alexander City AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as 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 be accepted for enrollment. The programs are typically made available by community colleges, and require two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally part of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy education to ready students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally take four years to complete and commonly incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required in order to become a practicing licensed 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 commitment seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal component along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, 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 phased out and is no longer attainable in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Programs
While not as common as the more traditional options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online portion of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Alexander City AL home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition may be significantly lower than comparable on campus options, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
At this point you most likely have made a decision regarding several of your initial questions, including the kind of physical therapist degree you want to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Alexander City AL area and across Alabama, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of school choices. Also, you want to be sure that you enroll in the college that is right for you. That’s why we have collected a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously stated, 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 college, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT college’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Get in touch with some Alexander City AL physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your program options. It may 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 schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of useful statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapy colleges you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Alexander City AL area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps excellent. It also affirms that the school has a large network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you choose provides both exceptional training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is required 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, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the physical therapist colleges you are evaluating have associations with Alexander City AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional connections in the Alexander City health care community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist school they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Alexander City AL residence. Individuals 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. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically 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 provide some form of financial support to their prospective students. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance office and see what kind of aid is obtainable. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapy school you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Alexander City AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask 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 Alexander City Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Alexander City AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Alexander City, Alabama
Alexander City, known to locals as "Alex City", is a city in Tallapoosa County, Alabama, United States, with a population of some 14,875. It is known for Lake Martin with its 750 miles (1,210 km) of wooded shoreline and 44,000 acres (180 km2) of water. Lake Martin stands on the Tallapoosa River and offers boating, swimming, fishing, golfing, and camping. Many neighborhoods and luxury homes are located on the lake.
Alexander City was incorporated in 1872 as Youngsville, after its founder James Young. In 1873, the Savannah and Memphis Railroad came to the city. The city was renamed in honor of the railroad's President Edward Porter Alexander, hero of the Battle of Gettysburg for the Confederate States.
On June 13, 1902, at 1 pm, a fire broke out in the Alexander City Machine shop and destroyed much of the town. At the time, Alexander City did not have a water system and all buildings, including the telegraph office, post office and three banks were burned.
Enroll in the Ideal Physical Therapist Degree Program near Alexander City AL
Picking the ideal physical therapy program is an important first decision you have to make to start a gratifying career in the medical field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you select should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are additional critical questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapy program, keep in mind that many factors will lead you toward your final decision. You may decide to go to each of the schools to see their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me achieve my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the ideal choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Alexander City AL.
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