How to Pick a Physical Therapist Program near Cherokee 35616
Earning a physical therapist degree near Cherokee AL is a critical first step to beginning a rewarding career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated as a result of injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the necessary training and education. A PT must also 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 those you are looking at to make sure they will provide a superior education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is enroll in a college just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be considered besides cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists work in a variety of settings, including Cherokee AL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they develop a program of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Cherokee AL health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Offered
There are three physical therapy degree options available for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief explanations of degree levels that are available in the Cherokee AL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically provided by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to ready students to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take four years to complete and often 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 must also 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 investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an intregal component in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in some 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 licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Programs Online
While not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to 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 college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the curriculum can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Cherokee AL home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition may be significantly less than comparable on-campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
At this point you probably have come to decision concerning some of your preliminary queries, like the kind of physical therapy degree you intend to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Cherokee AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll need to research other qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of school options. Also, you need to make certain that you choose the program that is right for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing schools these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Find out if the schools you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional 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 enroll in an online college, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not just the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, beginning with asking for 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 as well. Call several Cherokee AL physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your program selections. It might also be prudent to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist schools 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 teachers, 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 Cherokee AL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or even exceptional. It also verifies that the program has a large network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you select furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies 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) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the physical therapist colleges you are evaluating have associations with Cherokee AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Cherokee medical community and assist with job placement after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are looking at what the typical 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 speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Cherokee AL residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something 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 may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Most DPT schools provide some type of financial support to their potential students. Find out if the colleges you are examining have a financial assistance department and see what type of help is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist school you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Cherokee AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Cherokee Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Cherokee AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Cherokee is a town in west Colbert County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Florence–Muscle Shoals metropolitan area, known as "The Shoals". As of the 2010 census, the population of the town was 1,048.
Cherokee was incorporated December 7, 1871. The original settlers in the 1830s called the community "Buzzard Roost," but the name had been changed to "Cherokee" by the 1850s when the first post office opened. The town thrived as a stop along the Memphis and Charleston Railroad during the late 1850s and early 1860s.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,237 people, 510 households, and 370 families residing in the town. The population density was 552.5 people per square mile (213.2/km2). There were 557 housing units at an average density of 248.8 per square mile (96.0/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 78.33% White, 20.21% Black or African American, 0.32% Native American, and 1.13% from two or more races. 0.49% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Pick the Best Physical Therapy Training Program near Cherokee AL
Deciding on the ideal physical therapist program is a necessary initial decision you have to make to start a gratifying 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 exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are other critical questions that you should ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapy college, keep in mind that many variables will lead you to your ultimate decision. You may decide to go to different colleges to see their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me realize my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the ideal selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can achieve your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Cherokee AL.
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