How to Choose a Physical Therapy School near Laceys Spring 35754
Receiving a physical therapy degree near Laceys Spring AL is an essential first step to beginning a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated due to injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the proper training and education. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to investigate those you are thinking about to ensure they will supply a quality education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is select a school just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be evaluated along with cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists practice in diverse locations, including Laceys Spring AL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Laceys Spring AL health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Available
There are three physical therapy degrees available for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the single 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 readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degree levels that are offered in the Laceys Spring AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare 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 junior or community colleges, and take about two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a component of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy education to prep candidates to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally take four years to complete and commonly 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to finish, making the overall investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an essential element along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in some states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer available in the USA. A number of 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 implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Degrees
While not as prevalent as the on-campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online segment of the curriculum can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Laceys Spring AL residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat lower than comparable on-campus options, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
By now you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding some of your initial queries, including the kind of physical therapist degree you want to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are so many PT colleges within the Laceys Spring AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll need to research other qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of school options. Moreover, you want to be sure that you enroll in the college that is right for you. That’s why we have collected a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Find out if the programs you are reviewing have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As earlier mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you enroll in an online school, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapist program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist community. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT college’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Get in touch with some Laceys Spring AL physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your school options. It may also be prudent to check with the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might mean that students left due to dissatisfaction 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 college’s job placement program, particularly in the Laceys Spring AL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or even excellent. It also confirms that the college has a large network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the program you select provides both superior training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist programs you are assessing have relationships with Laceys Spring AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to get practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Laceys Spring healthcare community and assist with job placement 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 likely want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. 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 some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Laceys Spring AL residence. Students who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Most DPT colleges offer some form of financial aid to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are examining 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 might be eligible for. A number of physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapist program you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Laceys Spring AL area, confirm 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 carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Laceys Spring Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Laceys Spring AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Lacey's Spring, Alabama
Lacey's Spring is an unincorporated community in northeastern Morgan County, Alabama, United States at the base of Brindlee Mountain. It is included in the Decatur Metropolitan Area, as well as the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area.
Choose the Ideal Physical Therapist Degree Program near Laceys Spring AL
Selecting the right physical therapy program is a necessary first decision you must make to start a gratifying career in the health care field. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you choose should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are additional important questions that you need to ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist school, keep in mind that numerous variables will guide you to your final decision. You might decide to go to different colleges to see their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the ideal choice. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Laceys Spring AL.
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