How to Find the Right Physical Therapist School near Pleasant Grove 35127
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Pleasant Grove AL is an important first step to launching a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated as a result of illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the appropriate education and training. A PT must also be licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to investigate those you are thinking about to ensure they will furnish a quality education and meet your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be considered besides cost and location. 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 Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists practice in diverse settings, including Pleasant Grove AL private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to address the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also strive to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Pleasant Grove AL medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degree Options
There are three physical therapist degrees offered for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is attainable 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 advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief summaries of degree levels that are offered in the Pleasant Grove AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically made available by community or junior colleges, and take about two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually part of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to ready students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to 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 mandated in order 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 three years to finish, making the total commitment seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an important component in addition to the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not solely 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 eliminated and is no longer available in the United States. A number of practicing physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Degrees
While not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Pleasant Grove AL home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat lower than similar on campus options, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
By now you probably have made a decision concerning some of your initial questions, like the type of physical therapy degree you intend to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Pleasant Grove AL area and across Alabama, you’ll have to research additional qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of school choices. Also, you want to make sure that you choose the school that is best for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Ask if the programs you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. 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 select an online program, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT program’s reputation, beginning 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. Get in touch with some Pleasant Grove AL physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your college options. It may also be a good idea 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 Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of useful statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapist colleges you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate 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 college’s job placement program, particularly in the Pleasant Grove AL area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even exceptional. It also confirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the School Support 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 each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapist programs you are reviewing have relationships with Pleasant Grove AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to get practical experience in a clinical environment, 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 Pleasant Grove health care community and help with job placement once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Pleasant Grove AL home. Students who have decided to attend online classes naturally 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 bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? The majority of DPT schools offer some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are looking at have a financial assistance department and find out what type of help is available. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. Some physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapy college you finally 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 night or weekend classes in the Pleasant Grove AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, ask 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 Pleasant Grove Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Pleasant Grove AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Pleasant Grove, Alabama
It was established in 1889, but incorporated as a city in January 1937. The incorporation came about by reason of a rather unusual circumstance. The town sits on land honeycombed by coal mines. For many years the residents had relied on water wells for their water supply. As years passed and more mining was done, Pleasant Grove found itself confronted with a problem. Residents would sometimes go to their well to draw water only to find there was none. The water had gone into the mines.
During the mid to late 30s, the Federal Government had a program for financing the building of local water systems. In exploring the possibility of securing such funds, it was revealed that in order to secure such financing a community must be legally incorporated. At this time the incorporation became a reality.
The first appointed Mayor of Pleasant Grove was W.P. Stone. The city is governed by a mayor and five council members who serve four-year terms. Elections for city officials is held during the summer of each leap year with four-year terms beginning the first Monday in October. The area known as Pleasant Grove, Alabama was first homesteaded in September 1836. Pleasant Grove is in Jefferson County. Although no one seems to know when or exactly how the town came by its name, old documents indicate that at least part of this area was called Pleasant Grove as early as 1884. Pleasant Grove was made up of four communities which included Frog Pond, Lizard Ridge, Cottage Hill, and Pleasant Grove.
Choose the Right Physical Therapist College near Pleasant Grove AL
Deciding on the right physical therapist college is a necessary initial decision you must make to begin a gratifying career in the healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you decide on should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. But there are other critical questions that you need to ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapy program, bear in mind that numerous variables will guide you to your ultimate decision. You may want to visit different colleges to see their facilities and speak with current 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 be able to narrow down the options so you can make the best choice. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Pleasant Grove AL.
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