Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – Alexandria LA

How to Enroll In a Physical Therapy Degree Program near Alexandria 71301

Alexandria LA physical therapy school student with volunteerEarning a physical therapy degree near Alexandria LA is an important first step to launching a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated due to illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the proper education and training. A PT must also become licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research those you are thinking about to ensure they will furnish a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be considered in addition to 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 the options for education.

What Does a Physical Therapist Do?

Alexandria LA physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists work in a variety of locations, including Alexandria LA private practices, hospitals, 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 touched on, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they design a course of treatment to address the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Head injuries.
  • Cardiac arrest.
  • Sports injuries.
  • Fire injuries.
  • Hip Replacement.
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Multiple Sclerosis.

Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Alexandria LA medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone thinking about going 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 long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees

Alexandria LA physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are three physical therapy degrees available for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short explanations of degrees that are available in the Alexandria LA area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often offered by community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally part of the program.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy training to prepare candidates to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically take 4 years to complete and usually include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are required if you want to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program also must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to complete, making the total investment of time 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential component in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not just for graduation but in several 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 attainable in the United States. A number of practicing physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapist Programs Online

woman attending physical therapy school online in Alexandria LAWhile not as common as the more traditional options, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online portion of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Alexandria LA home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition might be somewhat lower than comparable on-campus options, and expenditures 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 ideal choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.

Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges

By now you probably have made a decision concerning some of your initial questions, like the kind of physical therapy degree you intend to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the Alexandria LA area and across Louisiana, you’ll need to look into other qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college options. Moreover, you need to make sure that you choose the program that is best for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions before making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited?  Ask if the programs you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. 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 enroll in an online school, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy school and program you select are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the Program’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can investigate 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 Alexandria LA physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your school options. It might also be prudent to check with the Louisiana Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.

What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two relevant statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapist programs you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students left due to 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 Alexandria LA area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also affirms that the school has a large network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the school you select furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements for Louisiana or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is needed 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 amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapist colleges you are assessing have associations with Alexandria LA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Alexandria medical community and help with job placement after licensing.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.

Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Alexandria LA residence. Those who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide 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 usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Aid Offered? The majority of DPT colleges supply some form of financial aid to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and find out 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 therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid may be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapist school you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Alexandria LA 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 credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Alexandria Louisiana?

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

Alexandria, Louisiana

Alexandria is the ninth-largest city in the state of Louisiana and is the parish seat of Rapides Parish, Louisiana, United States.[3] It lies on the south bank of the Red River in almost the exact geographic center of the state. It is the principal city of the Alexandria metropolitan area (population 153,922) which encompasses all of Rapides and Grant parishes. Its neighboring city is Pineville. In 2010, the population was 47,723, an increase of 3 percent from the 2000 census.[4]

Located along the Red River, the city of Alexandria was originally home to a community which supported activities of the adjacent French trader outpost of Post du Rapides. The area developed as an assemblage of traders, Caddo people, and merchants in the agricultural lands bordering the mostly unsettled areas to the north and providing a link from the south to the El Camino Real and then larger settlement of Natchitoches, the oldest permanent settlement in the Louisiana Purchase.

Alexander Fulton, a businessman from Washington County, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, received a land grant from Spain in 1785, and the first organized settlement was made at some point in the 1790s. In 1805, Fulton and business partner Thomas Harris Maddox laid out the town plan and named the town in Fulton's honor. The earliest deed that survives for an Alexandria resident is from June 24, 1805 when a William Cochren, who identifies himself as a "of the Town of Alexandria", sold a tract of land across the Red River to a William Murrey.[5]

Choose the Best Physical Therapy School near Alexandria LA

Deciding on the right physical therapy school is a necessary initial decision you have to make to start a rewarding career in the health care profession. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you decide on should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are additional critical questions that you need to ask pertaining to your school of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapy college, keep in mind that a number of variables will lead you toward your final decision. You may want to go to different campuses to see their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the right choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Alexandria LA.

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    Agilus Health
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    Sports Medicine, Physical Therapy
    Phone:
    1305 Texas Ave, Alexandria, LA 71301