How to Select a Physical Therapy Degree Program near Ashville 35953
Getting a physical therapy degree near Ashville AL is an important first step to beginning a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled due to injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the necessary education and training. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to evaluate those you are considering to make sure they will furnish a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is select a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be considered in addition to location and cost. But before we cover 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 Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in varying settings, such as Ashville AL private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a course of treatment to address the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Ashville AL medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to take note of 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 long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapist degrees available for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief descriptions of degrees that are available in the Ashville AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are usually offered by community or junior colleges, and take about two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a portion of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to prep candidates to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally require four years to complete and often incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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 finish, making the overall commitment seven years in most cases. Clinical training is an intregal element along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in several 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 available in the USA. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Schools
Although not as common as the more traditional alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy programs available, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online part of the curriculum can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Ashville AL home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition may be significantly less than similar on campus options, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning some of your preliminary queries, like the kind of physical therapist degree you want to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Ashville AL area and across Alabama, you’ll need to research other qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school options. Also, you want to be sure that you pick the program that is ideal for you. That’s why we have put together a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Ask if the programs you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As earlier mentioned, 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 college, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not just the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call several Ashville AL physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your college selections. 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 Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students left because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Ashville AL area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps excellent. It also confirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the program you enroll in provides both superior training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements for Alabama 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. Although licensing requirements fluctuate 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 Internships Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapy schools you are evaluating have partnerships with Ashville AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to receive practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Ashville medical community and help with job placement after licensing.
How Large 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 undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized 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 prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapist school they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Ashville AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online naturally 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 keep in mind 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 often charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? Most DPT colleges supply some form of financial support to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial assistance department and find out what type of assistance is obtainable. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapy program you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Ashville AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Ashville Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Ashville AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Ashville is a city in St. Clair County, Alabama, United States. Its population was 2,212 at the 2010 census, down from 2,260, at which time it was a town. Ashville is the county seat of St. Clair County along with Pell City. It incorporated in 1822.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen climate classification system, Ashville has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps. 
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,260 people, 814 households, and 608 families residing in the town. The population density was 116.9 people per square mile (45.1/km2). There were 905 housing units at an average density of 46.8 per square mile (18.1/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 69.42% White, 26.55% Black or African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.18% Asian, 0.31% Pacific Islander, 1.81% from other races, and 1.55% from two or more races. 2.88% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Pick the Best Physical Therapist College near Ashville AL
Choosing the ideal physical therapist college is an important first decision you must make to start a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you enroll in should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are other critical questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapist school, bear in mind that numerous variables will guide you to your ultimate decision. You may want to visit different campuses to see their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the right selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Ashville AL.
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