How to Enroll In a Physical Therapist School near Gadsden 35901
Earning a physical therapy degree near Gadsden AL is an important first step to starting a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated due to illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the necessary training and education. A PT must also become licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research the ones you are considering to make certain they will supply a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is select a school just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be evaluated along with location and cost. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists work in varying locations, such as Gadsden AL private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a course of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Gadsden AL health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapy degrees offered for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is attainable to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief explanations of degree levels that are offered in the Gadsden AL area:
- Associate Degrees train 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 be accepted for enrollment. The programs are usually offered by community colleges, and require two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a component of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy training to prep candidates to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically take 4 years to finish and commonly include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want to become a practicing licensed 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 complete, making the total commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential element in addition to the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in a number of 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 offered in the United States. A number of practicing physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Colleges Online
Although not as common as the more traditional options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online part of the curriculum can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Gadsden AL home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat lower than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
At this point you probably have come to decision regarding several of your preliminary questions, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you want to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Gadsden AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll need to explore other qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school options. Moreover, you need to make certain that you enroll in the college that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are considering. Ask all of the potential schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are considering have received 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 choose an online program, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact several Gadsden AL physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your school options. It might also be a good idea 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 College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two important statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapist schools you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Gadsden AL area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or even outstanding. It also affirms that the college has a broad network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment after graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you enroll in furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the physical therapy programs you are assessing have partnerships with Gadsden AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional relationships in the Gadsden medical community and help with job placement once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Gadsden AL home. Those who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble 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 program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often 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 Aid Offered? Most DPT colleges supply some type of financial aid to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are looking at have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of assistance is obtainable. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapy college you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Gadsden AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Gadsden Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Gadsden AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Gadsden is a city in and the county seat of Etowah County in the U.S. state of Alabama. It is located on the Coosa River about 56 miles (90 km) northeast of Birmingham and 90 miles (140 km) southwest of Chattanooga, Tennessee. It is the primary city of the Gadsden Metropolitan Statistical Area, which has a population of 103,931. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 36,856, with an estimated population of 35,837 in 2016. Gadsden and Rome, Georgia, are the largest cities in the triangular area now defined by the interstate highways between Atlanta, Birmingham, and Chattanooga.
In the 19th century, Gadsden was at one time Alabama's second-most important center of commerce and industry, trailing only the seaport of Mobile. The two cities were important shipping centers: Gadsden for riverboats and Mobile for international trade.
From the late 19th century through the 1980s, Gadsden was a center of heavy industry, including the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company and Republic Steel. More than a decade after the sharp decline in industry, in 1991 Gadsden was awarded the honor of All-America City by the National Civic League. This honored the way Gadsden's citizens, government, businesses, and voluntary organizations have worked together to address critical local issues.
Choose the Ideal Physical Therapist Training Program near Gadsden AL
Picking the ideal physical therapy college is a necessary first decision you need 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 decide on should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are other relevant questions that you should ask regarding your college of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapy program, keep in mind that a number of factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might decide to visit different schools to see their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me accomplish 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 best choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Gadsden AL.
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