How to Pick a Physical Therapist Training Program near Russellville 35653
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Russellville AL is an essential first step to launching a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated as a result of illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the appropriate training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate those you are considering to make certain they will deliver a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be considered along with location and cost. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of settings, such as Russellville AL private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also strive to prevent any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Russellville AL health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are 3 physical therapist degrees offered for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degrees that are offered in the Russellville AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are most often provided by community or junior colleges, and take about two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a portion of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy training to prep students to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically require four years to finish and commonly incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement in order 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 commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an important component in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in several states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer available in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Colleges
While not as common as the more traditional alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Russellville AL home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition might be somewhat less than similar on-campus options, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
At this point you probably have made a decision concerning some of your initial queries, such as the type of physical therapist degree you want to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Russellville AL area and across Alabama, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college options. Furthermore, you want to be sure that you pick the program that is right for you. That’s why we have collected a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Ask if the programs you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. 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 choose an online program, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not just the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Get in touch with a few Russellville AL physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your school selections. It may also be a good idea to check with the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two useful statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapy schools you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students left due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Russellville AL area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also confirms that the college has a large network of contacts to help students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the school you choose furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements 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 school. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are assessing have relationships with Russellville AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional connections in the Russellville healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for 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 classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Russellville AL residence. Students who have decided to attend classes online 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 decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? The majority of DPT schools supply some type of financial aid to their prospective students. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid office and find out what type of help is available. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapy college you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Russellville AL area, confirm 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 carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Russellville Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Russellville AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Russellville is a city in Franklin County in the U.S. state of Alabama. At the 2010 census, the population of the city was 9,830, up from 8,971 at the 2000 census. The city is the county seat of Franklin County.
After the War of 1812, the U.S. government appropriated money to improve a route from Nashville to New Orleans. It was named Jackson's Military Road after Andrew Jackson, and it passed through what became Russellville. (Present-day Jackson Avenue and Jackson Highway, U.S. Route 43, follow portions of the original road.)
Russellville is named after Major William Russell, an early settler in the area who helped in the construction of Jackson's Military Road. The town grew at this road's intersection with the Gaines Trace.
Pick the Ideal Physical Therapist School near Russellville AL
Selecting the best physical therapist program is a necessary initial decision you must make to launch a fulfilling career in the medical field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you choose should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are additional relevant questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist school, keep in mind that numerous variables will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You might want to go to different campuses to view their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the best choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Russellville AL.
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