How to Select a Physical Therapy College near Mathews 36052
Receiving a physical therapy degree near Mathews AL is an essential first step to launching a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled due to illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to investigate those you are thinking about to make sure they will furnish a superior education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is choose a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be evaluated in addition to cost and location. But before we cover what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in a variety of locations, including Mathews AL private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they design a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also strive to stop any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Mathews AL health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Offered
There are 3 physical therapist degrees offered for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short descriptions of degrees that are available in the Mathews AL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often made available by community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a portion of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy training to prep candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they normally require four years to complete and usually include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated in order 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 complete, making the overall commitment seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal element along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in some 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 available in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Schools Online
While not as prevalent as the more traditional options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Mathews AL home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition can be significantly less than comparable on-campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding a few of your preliminary queries, including the type of physical therapy degree you would like to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Mathews AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll need to research other qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of college choices. Furthermore, you need to be sure 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 therapist programs you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential schools these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Find out if the colleges 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 select an online program, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT program’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Call several Mathews AL physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your program options. It may 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 Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist colleges you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Mathews AL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even excellent. It also affirms that the college has a broad network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the program you choose provides both exceptional training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapist colleges you are assessing have partnerships with Mathews AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to receive practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Mathews medical community and help with job placement once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapist school they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Mathews AL home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually 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 Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT schools provide some form of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are examining have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of assistance is available. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance might be available.
Can the School 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 especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Mathews AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Mathews Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Mathews AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Enroll in the Ideal Physical Therapist School near Mathews AL
Picking the ideal physical therapy college is a necessary initial decision you have to make to begin a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you decide on should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. 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 therapy college, bear in mind that numerous factors will guide you to your final decision. You may want to visit different schools to see their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me realize my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the ideal choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Mathews AL.
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