How to Pick a Physical Therapist College near Orange Beach 36561
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Orange Beach AL is an important first step to starting a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled due to illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the necessary education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate those you are looking at to make certain they will deliver a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is choose a school simply 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 considered along with location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address 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 Orange Beach AL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers 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 patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also strive to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Orange Beach AL health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapy degrees offered for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, 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 advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief explanations of degrees that are available in the Orange Beach AL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are usually offered by junior or community colleges, and require two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally part of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy training to prepare students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally require 4 years to complete and commonly include an internship program of a minimum of 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to finish, making the overall commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential element in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in a number of states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer attainable in the United States. A number of 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 Therapist Online Degrees
While not as common as the more traditional options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so 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 near the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online portion of the program may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Orange Beach AL residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition may be significantly less than similar on-campus options, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you most likely have made a decision concerning several of your initial queries, like the type of physical therapist degree you would like 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 schools within the Orange Beach AL area and across Alabama, you’ll need to explore additional qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of college choices. Moreover, you want to be sure that you pick the school that is right for you. That’s why we have put together a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are considering. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you enroll in an online program, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can research a PT college’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with some Orange Beach AL physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your college selections. It might also be prudent to check with the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapist schools you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Orange Beach AL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or even exceptional. It also verifies that the college has a large network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the program you enroll in furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the physical therapy programs you are assessing have partnerships with Orange Beach AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Orange Beach medical community and help with job placement once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are researching 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 determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Orange Beach AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually 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? The majority of DPT colleges offer some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are looking at have a financial assistance office and see what kind of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapist program you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Orange Beach AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have 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 Orange Beach Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Orange Beach AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Orange Beach, Alabama
Orange Beach is located along the Gulf of Mexico, and is the easternmost community on Alabama's Gulf Coast, with Florida's Perdido Key bordering it to the east. The city of Gulf Shores is to the west.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 15.9 square miles (41.3 km2), of which 14.7 square miles (38.1 km2) is land and 1.2 square miles (3.2 km2), or 7.83%, is water.
As of the census of 2010, there were 5,441 people, 2,492 households, and 1,544 families residing in the city. The population density was 370 per square mile (140/km2). There were 11,726 housing units at an average density of 737.5 per square mile (284.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.3% White, 0.6% Black or African American, 0.7% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 1.4% from other races, and 2.2% from two or more races. 2.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Enroll in the Right Physical Therapy Training Program near Orange Beach AL
Selecting the best physical therapist program is an important first decision you have to make to launch a rewarding career in the health care profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you choose should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. However there are other important questions that you need to ask regarding your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist college, keep in mind that numerous variables will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You may want to visit each of the colleges to view their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me achieve 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 field so you can make the right selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can achieve your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Orange Beach AL.
A Few More Interesting Locations in Alabama
Business Results 1 - 10 of 10