How to Choose a Physical Therapist Degree Program near Headland 36345
Earning a physical therapist degree near Headland AL is a critical first step to beginning a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated as a result of injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the appropriate training and education. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate the ones you are considering to make sure they will supply a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is enroll in a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be considered along with cost and location. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists work in varying locations, including Headland AL private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Headland AL health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also manage 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 considering going into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapy degrees available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the one 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 readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief summaries of degrees that are available in the Headland AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are usually made available by community colleges, and require two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically part of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist training to ready students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take 4 years to finish and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 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). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the total commitment seven years in most cases. Clinical training is an important component in addition to the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in several 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 phased out and is no longer attainable in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Colleges
Although not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of 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 incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the curriculum can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Headland AL residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat lower than comparable on campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
By now you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding several of your preliminary queries, including the type 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 since there are so many PT colleges within the Headland AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of college choices. Also, you need to make sure that you enroll in the program that is right for you. That’s why we have collected a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist programs you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Ask if the schools you are looking at have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As earlier stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you select an online program, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through 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 aid.
What is the College’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are a number of ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call several Headland AL physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your college options. It might also be a good idea to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two significant statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapist schools you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Headland AL area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also affirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the program you enroll in 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 program. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the physical therapy programs you are reviewing have associations with Headland AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to receive practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students develop professional connections in the Headland healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapist school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Headland AL home. Students who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry 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 program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? The majority of DPT colleges offer some type of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and see what kind of aid is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapist school you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Headland 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 courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Headland Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Headland AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Headland is the largest city in Henry County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Dothan, Alabama metropolitan area. At the 2010 census the population was 4,510, up from 3,523 at the 2000 census. Ray Marler is the current mayor.
The Headland Public Square was laid off in 1871 by J.J. Head with a vision for a branch courthouse. Henry County voters decided in the 1879 and 1885 courthouse site elections not to locate a courthouse on the public square. Henry has been Alabama's only county with three courthouses at the same time.
Headland incorporated in 1884 with 26 white and 4 black petitioners. The railroad was built in 1893 along with the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad Depot. The depot was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 4, 1980. It has since been disassembled.
Choose the Best Physical Therapist School near Headland AL
Deciding on the right physical therapist college is an important initial decision you need to make to start a gratifying career in the healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you select should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. But there are other critical questions that you need to ask regarding your school of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapist program, keep in mind that a number of factors will lead you toward your final decision. You might want to visit different campuses 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 following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the best choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Headland AL.
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