How to Enroll In a Physical Therapy School near Rutledge 36071
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Rutledge AL is a critical first step to launching a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated due to illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the appropriate education and training. A PT must also be licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research those you are thinking about to make sure they will deliver a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is select a college just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated besides location and cost. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists practice in varying settings, such as Rutledge AL hospitals, health clinics, 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 stated, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Rutledge AL health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering entering 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 extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are 3 physical therapist degree options available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is attainable to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short descriptions of degree levels that are offered in the Rutledge AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often provided by community or junior colleges, and require two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally part of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy education to ready candidates to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally require 4 years to finish and usually incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to complete, making the overall investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an important component in addition to the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Therefor 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 attainable in the United States. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Colleges
While not as common as the on campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online part of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Rutledge AL residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition may be significantly lower than similar on-campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
At this point you most likely have come to decision regarding a few of your preliminary questions, like the type of physical therapist degree you would like to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the Rutledge AL area and across Alabama, you’ll need to research other qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of college options. Furthermore, you want to be sure that you select the program that is right for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. 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 select an online college, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain 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 Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT school’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 organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with a few Rutledge AL physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your college selections. It might also be a good idea to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Rutledge AL area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also verifies that the program has a broad network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the school you choose provides both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the physical therapy schools you are interested in have partnerships with Rutledge AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Rutledge healthcare community and assist with job placement after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Rutledge AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something 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 typically 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 Assistance Provided? Most DPT schools supply some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid office and find out what type of help is offered. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapy program you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Rutledge AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Rutledge Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Rutledge AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Rutledge is located at the geographic center of Crenshaw County at 31°43′59″N 86°18′35″W / 31.73306°N 86.30972°W / 31.73306; -86.30972 (31.733103, -86.309619). The city of Luverne, the Crenshaw County seat, lies along Rutledge's eastern border.
Rutledge began as Barber's Crossroads. It was originally settled by Jared Phelps Barber. The town was briefly named Crenshaw, but on June 10, 1867, it was changed to Rutledge in honor of Captain Henry Rutledge, Company H. 59th Alabama Infantry, CSA. Rutledge was the first county seat of Crenshaw County and held that position from March 1867 to May 1893. It was incorporated in 1871.
As of the census of 2000, there were 476 people, 201 households, and 127 families residing in the town. The population density was 143.4 people per square mile (55.4/km²). There were 264 housing units at an average density of 79.5 per square mile (30.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 71.01% White, 28.36% Black or African American, and 0.63% from two or more races.
Enroll in the Right Physical Therapy Training Program near Rutledge AL
Picking the best physical therapist program is a necessary initial decision you need to make to launch a rewarding career in the medical profession. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you choose should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are additional important questions that you should ask regarding your college of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapist school, bear in mind that a number of variables will guide you toward your final decision. You might decide to go to each of the campuses to view their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me accomplish 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 necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Rutledge AL.
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