How to Pick a Physical Therapy Program near Roanoke 36274
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Roanoke AL is a critical first step to launching a rewarding career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated as a result of illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the necessary education and training. A PT must also become licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research those you are looking at to make sure they will furnish a superior education and meet your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is select a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be considered along with cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in varying settings, including Roanoke AL private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers 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 people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also strive to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Roanoke AL medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
There are three physical therapy degree options offered for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is attainable to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degrees that are offered in the Roanoke AL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are most often made available by community colleges, and require 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a portion of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to prepare candidates to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they generally take four years to complete and usually incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program also must 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 finish, making the overall investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical training is an important element along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in several 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 offered in the United States. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Programs Online
Although not as common as the on campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapy programs available, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online portion of the program may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Roanoke AL residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition may be significantly less than similar on campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
At this point you most likely have made a decision concerning several of your preliminary questions, like the type of physical therapy degree you intend to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Roanoke AL area and across Alabama, you’ll need to explore other qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Also, you want to be sure that you enroll in the school that is right for you. That’s why we have put together a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential schools these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Ask if the schools you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As earlier 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 imperative that both the physical therapist program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Get in touch with some Roanoke AL physical therapy clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your college selections. It may also be a good idea 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 School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two useful statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapist programs you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Roanoke AL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also verifies that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you enroll in furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that supports 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) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the physical therapist programs you are interested in have relationships with Roanoke AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional connections in the Roanoke healthcare community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Roanoke AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose 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 normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? Most DPT schools supply some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are looking at have a financial assistance office and find out what type of aid is obtainable. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapist program you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Roanoke AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Roanoke Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Roanoke AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
This was an area of historic occupation by the Creek before treaties to persuade the Native Americans to cede their land, followed by forced migration under the Indian Removal Act of 1830. The area was part of a broad part of upland developed as cotton plantations worked by enslaved African Americans. The area is still quite rural.
Initially called High Pine in the 1830s after a nearby creek, it was allegedly burned during an Indian uprising in 1836. Renamed Chulafinee in 1840, it was later renamed again for the hometown of one of the early settlers, Roanoke, Virginia. The city was officially incorporated in December 1890.
Roanoke has three schools served by Roanoke City Schools: Knight Enloe Elementary (K-3), Handley Middle School (4-8), and Handley High School (9-12). On December 1, 2011, the Handley Tigers won the AHSAA Football Class 3A State Championship.
Enroll in the Ideal Physical Therapist Degree Program near Roanoke AL
Selecting the best physical therapist program is a necessary first decision you have to make to start a rewarding career in the health care field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you pick should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are other relevant questions that you need to ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapy school, keep in mind that numerous variables will guide you toward your final decision. You may want to visit different schools to see their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me reach 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 ideal choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Roanoke AL.
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