How to Select a Physical Therapist Degree Program near Glenwood 36034
Earning a physical therapy degree near Glenwood AL is an important first step to starting a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated as a result of injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the proper education and training. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research the ones you are thinking about to make sure they will furnish a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be evaluated in addition to 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 what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists work in diverse locations, such as Glenwood AL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Glenwood AL medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
There are three physical therapist degree options available for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short summaries of degree levels that are available in the Glenwood AL area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are usually made available by community or junior colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually part of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist training to ready candidates to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically require four years to finish and usually include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to finish, making the total investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal element in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, 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 eliminated and is no longer offered in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Colleges
While not as common as the more traditional options, there are many accredited online physical therapist programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Glenwood AL residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition can be somewhat lower than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning some of your initial questions, including the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Glenwood AL area and across Alabama, you’ll need to explore additional qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of school options. Also, you want to make sure that you pick the college that is right for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions before making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously mentioned, 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 obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, starting with asking for 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 also. Call a few Glenwood AL physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your program selections. It may 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 Rate? There are a two important statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist schools you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Glenwood AL area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also affirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you select furnishes both superior training and a course of study that satisfies 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) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the physical therapist programs you are evaluating have relationships with Glenwood AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Glenwood medical community and assist with job placement after licensing.
How Big 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 probably want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are looking at what the average teacher to student 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 talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Glenwood AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you choose 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 usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Support Offered? The majority of DPT schools offer some form of financial support to their prospective students. Ask if the colleges you are examining have a financial aid department and find out what kind of assistance is available. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapy college you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Glenwood AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need 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 Glenwood Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Glenwood AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
As of the census of 2000, there were 191 people, 92 households, and 58 families residing in the town. The population density was 262.8 people per square mile (101.0/km²). There were 118 housing units at an average density of 162.3 per square mile (62.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 69.11% White, 29.84% Black or African American, and 1.05% from two or more races. 0.52% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 92 households out of which 25.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.8% were married couples living together, 12.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.9% were non-families. 32.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.08 and the average family size was 2.59.
In the town, the population was spread out with 18.3% under the age of 18, 5.2% from 18 to 24, 29.8% from 25 to 44, 27.7% from 45 to 64, and 18.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females, there were 85.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 75.3 males.
Choose the Ideal Physical Therapist College near Glenwood AL
Choosing the ideal physical therapy program is a necessary first decision you must make to start a fulfilling career in the healthcare profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you choose should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are additional relevant questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapy program, bear in mind that a number of factors will guide you toward your final decision. You may want to go to each of the colleges to view their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the best selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Glenwood AL.
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