How to Pick a Physical Therapy Degree Program near Anniston 36201
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Anniston AL is an essential first step to beginning a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated due to injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the proper training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to evaluate the ones you are thinking about to make sure they will furnish a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is choose a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated 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 what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of locations, including Anniston AL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they create a program of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Anniston AL health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also manage several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
There are 3 physical therapist degree options available for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the one degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short summaries of degree levels that are offered in the Anniston AL area:
- Associate Degrees train 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 equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are most often made available by community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally part of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to prep candidates to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required 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 typically require four years to finish and usually incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required in order to become a licensed practicing 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 three years to finish, making the overall commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an intregal element in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in a number of states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has taken the place of the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer available in the United States. A number of practicing physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Colleges
Although not as prevalent as the on-campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online part of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Anniston AL residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition may be significantly lower than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
By now you probably have come to decision concerning some of your initial questions, including the kind of physical therapy degree you intend to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the Anniston AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll have to research additional qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of school options. Also, you want to make certain that you enroll in the program that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Find out if the programs you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously 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 choose an online school, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not just the school. Also, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing 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 School’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Call several Anniston AL physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your college options. It may 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 Percentage? There are a two significant statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapy colleges you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Anniston AL area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also verifies that the college has a wide network of contacts to help students obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the college you select provides both superior training and a course of study 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 therapist program. While licensing requirements fluctuate 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 supplemental exams.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapist colleges you are interested in have partnerships with Anniston AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Anniston health care community and assist with job placement after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are looking at 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 a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Anniston AL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously 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 perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? The majority of DPT colleges provide some type of financial aid to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have a financial aid department and find out what kind of help is offered. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapy school you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Anniston AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative 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 may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Anniston Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Anniston AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Anniston is the county seat of Calhoun County in Alabama and is one of two urban centers/principal cities of and included in the Anniston-Oxford Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 23,106. According to 2013 Census estimates, the city had a population of 22,666.
Though the surrounding area was settled much earlier, the mineral resources in the area of Anniston were not exploited until the Civil War. The Confederate States of America then operated an iron furnace near present-day downtown Anniston, until it was finally destroyed by raiding Union cavalry in early 1865. Later, cast iron for sewer systems became the focus of Anniston's industrial output. Cast iron pipe, also called soil pipe, was popular until the advent of plastic pipe in the 1960s.
In 1872, the Woodstock Iron Company, organized by Samuel Noble and Union Gen. Daniel Tyler, rebuilt the furnace on a much larger scale, and started a planned community named Woodstock, soon renamed "Annie's Town" for Annie Scott Tyler, Daniel's daughter and wife of railroad president Alfred L. Tyler. Anniston was chartered as a town in 1873.
Pick the Ideal Physical Therapy College near Anniston AL
Deciding on the right physical therapy program is a necessary first decision you need to 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 school you decide on should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. But there are other important questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapist program, keep in mind that numerous factors will lead you to your final decision. You may want to go to different colleges to see their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me achieve my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the ideal choice. And with the proper education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Anniston AL.
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