How to Find the Right Physical Therapist College near Andalusia 36420
Earning a physical therapist degree near Andalusia AL is an important first step to launching a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research those you are looking at to make sure they will furnish a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is enroll in a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be considered along with location and cost. But before we discuss 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 is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists work in varying locations, including Andalusia AL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to prevent any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Andalusia AL medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degree Options
There are three physical therapy degree options offered for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short descriptions of degrees that are available in the Andalusia 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 obtained a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often provided by community colleges, and require two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist education to prepare students to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally take four years to complete and often incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated 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 complete, making the overall commitment 7 years in most cases. 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 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. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Schools Online
Although not as prevalent as the on-campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the course of study can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Andalusia AL home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat less than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding a few of your preliminary queries, including the type of physical therapist degree you would like to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Andalusia AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll have to explore other qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of college options. Furthermore, you need to be sure that you select the school that is best for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions before making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Ask if the schools you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national 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 choose an online program, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapist school and program you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Call some Andalusia AL physical therapy clinics or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your college options. It might also be a good idea to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy schools you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Andalusia AL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or even exceptional. It also verifies that the college has a broad network of contacts to help students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the program you choose furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies 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) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapist schools you are assessing have associations with Andalusia AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Andalusia health care community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are looking at 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 ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Andalusia AL residence. Those who have chosen 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 college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? The majority of DPT colleges offer some type of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial aid department and find out what kind of help is available. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. Some physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapy school you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Andalusia AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol 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 Andalusia Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Andalusia AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Andalusia was first settled in 1841 after flooding of the Conecuh River and the surrounding lowlands forced citizens to move to higher ground. The county seat was moved from Montezuma to Andalusia in 1844. The new town was originally called "New Site" but was known as Andalusia by the time a post office was established in 1846.
Andalusia, likely got its name from Spanish explorers or settlers since the land where the town is located was part of Spanish Florida until Pinckney's Treaty in 1795. Prior to this treaty, the Spanish Empire claimed all land up to 32.22 degrees north, which would include present day Andalusia which is at 31.31 degrees north. Andalusia shares the name of Andalusia, a large southern autonomous community of Spain.
Andalusia is located slightly northwest of the center of Covington County at 31°18′N 86°29′W / 31.300°N 86.483°W / 31.300; -86.483 (31.309, -86.479). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 19.8 square miles (51.3 km2), of which 19.7 square miles (50.9 km2) is land and 0.15 square miles (0.4 km2), or 0.79%, is water.
Enroll in the Best Physical Therapy Degree Program near Andalusia AL
Choosing the ideal physical therapist school is a necessary initial decision you must make to begin a gratifying career in the health care profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you select should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. However there are other important questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist program, keep in mind that numerous variables will guide you to your ultimate decision. You may decide to visit each of the schools to see their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me realize 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 appropriate selection. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Andalusia AL.
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