How to Choose a Physical Therapy School near Attalla 35954
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Attalla AL is an essential first step to launching a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated as a result of illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s important to investigate those you are looking at to ensure they will provide a superior education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is choose a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be considered in addition to cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists practice in diverse settings, such as Attalla AL private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Attalla AL medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapy degree options offered for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is offered to practice as 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. Below are brief descriptions of degrees that are available in the Attalla 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 made available by community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to prepare students to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take four years to complete and usually incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to finish, making the total investment of time 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an important element in addition to the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment 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 phased out and is no longer available in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists having 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 Therapy Programs Online
Although not as prevalent as the on-campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the school campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online part of the program may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Attalla AL residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition can be somewhat less than comparable on campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
At this point you most likely have come to decision concerning a few of your preliminary questions, like the type of physical therapy degree you intend to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Attalla AL area and across Alabama, you’ll need to look into additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school choices. Moreover, you want to make certain that you enroll in the school that is right for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential schools these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Ask if the schools you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. 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 select an online program, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are a number of ways you can research a PT college’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Call some Attalla AL physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your college options. It may also be prudent to check with the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapist programs you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students left because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Attalla AL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care field is good or even excellent. It also verifies that the school has a large network of contacts to help students get internships or employment after graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the program you select furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the physical therapy colleges you are assessing have associations with Attalla AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Attalla healthcare community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing 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 decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Attalla AL residence. Students who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often 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 Aid Offered? Most DPT colleges supply some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial aid department and find out what kind of help is obtainable. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. A number of physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapist college you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Attalla AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify 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 might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Attalla Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Attalla AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
The town occupies the site of an Indian village which was of considerable importance during the Creek War. It was in Attalla that David Brown, a Cherokee assisted by the Rev. D. S. Butterick, prepared the Cherokee Spelling Book.
Attalla was not founded until 1870, on land donated by W. C. Hammond, a plantation owner. It was incorporated as a city government on February 5, 1872. The town was officially named "Attalla" in 1893, from the Cherokee language word meaning "mountain". Attalla was prosperous until the railroads that it depended on went into bankruptcy.
William Lewis Moore, a U.S. postman and white civil rights activist, was murdered here on April 23, 1963 as he tried to walk from Chattanooga, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi to deliver his letter in support of civil rights to Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett. The suspected murderer, Floyd Simpson, was never charged with the crime.]].
Choose the Ideal Physical Therapist College near Attalla AL
Deciding on the right physical therapist school is an important initial decision you need to make to start a rewarding career in the healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you pick should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. But 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 school, bear in mind that numerous factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might want to visit each of the schools to view their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me achieve 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 best selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Attalla AL.
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