How to Find the Right Physical Therapist Training Program near Rainbow City 35906
Earning a physical therapy degree near Rainbow City AL is an essential first step to beginning a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated as a result of illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the appropriate education and training. A PT must also become licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to investigate those you are looking at to make certain they will deliver a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is choose a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be evaluated in addition to cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists work in a variety of settings, including Rainbow City AL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they create a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Rainbow City AL health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone considering entering the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are three physical therapist degrees offered for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short descriptions of degree levels that are offered in the Rainbow City AL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are typically made available by junior or community colleges, and take about two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a component of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to ready students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically require 4 years to finish and usually incorporate 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 most cases. Clinical training is an essential element in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, 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 available in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Colleges
While not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapist degrees available, even more at the graduate level. Due to 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 nearby an available internship. However, the online part of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Rainbow City AL home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat lower than comparable on campus options, and expenditures 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 right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you most likely have made a decision concerning some of your preliminary questions, including the type of physical therapist degree you would like to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are so many PT schools within the Rainbow City AL area and across Alabama, you’ll need to research additional qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of school choices. Moreover, you want to be sure that you select the school that is best for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are thinking about. Ask each of the competing schools these questions before making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Find out if the programs you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As previously stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online school, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Call several Rainbow City AL physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your school options. It may also be prudent to contact 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 two relevant statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Rainbow City AL area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even excellent. It also confirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the school you choose provides both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria 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 therapy program. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the physical therapy colleges you are assessing have relationships with Rainbow City AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Rainbow City medical community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are researching 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 determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Rainbow City AL residence. Those who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. 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 need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? The majority of DPT schools offer some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance office and see what type of help is offered. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapy schools offer 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 verify that the physical therapy program you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Rainbow City AL area, confirm that they are offered. 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, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Rainbow City Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Rainbow City AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Rainbow City, Alabama
This city was named after U.S. Highway 411, called Rainbow Drive, which runs through the middle of the city. Some of the older citizens say it was named after the US 42nd Infantry Division, known as the "Rainbow Division".
As early as 1818, families from the Carolinas and Georgia began to migrate to the area and homestead land near the Coosa River. Hernando de Soto's troops were the first visitors to the area in 1540, and today a bridge stands where the Pensacola Trading Path crossed the Coosa River. A paved highway now traces the trail that was cut from Nashville to Horseshoe Bend by Andrew Jackson on his way to fight the Creek Native Americans in what is now known as the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.
Originally called "Coosa Bend", the area was later called "Morgan's Cross Road". It was located at the intersection of the Gadsden-Ashville Road and Gilbert's Ferry Road. The land was passed from Edmond Jones to his son Clayton, who never married. When he died, the land passed to his sister, Luvica Morgan, who was also the wife of William Morgan.
Select the Ideal Physical Therapy Training Program near Rainbow City AL
Choosing the ideal physical therapy college is an important first decision you have to make to launch a fulfilling career in the healthcare profession. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you choose should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. But there are other important questions that you need to ask regarding your college of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapist school, bear in mind that a number of factors will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You might want to go to each of the colleges to view their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the right selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Rainbow City AL.
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