Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – Saraland AL

How to Find the Right Physical Therapist School near Saraland 36571

Saraland AL physical therapy school student with volunteerGetting a physical therapy degree near Saraland AL is a critical first step to beginning a rewarding career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled as a result of injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the necessary training and education. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research the ones you are looking at to make certain they will provide a superior education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is enroll in a school just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be considered along with cost and location. But before we cover 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 is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?

Saraland AL physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists work in varying locations, such as Saraland 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 previously touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a course of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Strokes.
  • Heart attacks.
  • Sports injuries.
  • Burn injuries.
  • Knee Replacement.
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Cerebral Palsy.

Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Saraland AL medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees

Saraland AL physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are three physical therapy degree options offered for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief explanations of degrees that are offered in the Saraland AL area:

  • Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are typically made available by junior or community colleges, and require 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually part of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to ready candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to practicing as a PT. As with 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 a requirement if you want to become a practicing licensed 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 total commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal element along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not only 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 eliminated and is no longer offered in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapist Online Programs

woman attending physical therapy school online in Saraland ALWhile not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online portion of the program may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Saraland AL home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition may be significantly lower than comparable on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges

By now you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding a few of your initial queries, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Saraland AL area and across Alabama, you’ll need to research additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of college options. Also, you want to make certain that you enroll in the program that is best for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are considering. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited?  Ask if the programs you are considering have received 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 choose an online school, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call some Saraland AL physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your program 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 College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two significant statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Saraland AL area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps excellent. It also confirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you select furnishes both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing have relationships with Saraland AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to receive 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 graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Saraland health care community and assist with job placement once licensed.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.

Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Saraland AL home. Those who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose 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 often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Most DPT schools supply some type of financial support to their prospective students. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department and find out what kind of help is offered. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid might be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapy college you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Saraland AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Saraland Alabama?

If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Saraland AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.

Saraland, Alabama

Saraland is a city in Mobile County, Alabama, United States, and a suburb of Mobile. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 13,405. It is a part of the Mobile metropolitan area. Saraland is the third largest city in Mobile County.

The land area that was to become the present-day Saraland, was included in a Spanish land grant to Don Diego Alvarez. Hence, descendants of Alvarez were the ones to give the community its first name: Alvarez Station. Later land squatters moved into the area and were able, legally, in 1800 to begin purchasing property. In 1807, a land office was opened in St. Stephens to handle all land transactions. Some of the pioneer families who seized the opportunity to buy up sections were named Alvarez, Rice, Hartley, Moore, LaCoste, Williams, Tool and Cleveland. Ultimately, Alvarez Station was called Cleveland Station. The present name of the city is reported to have been given by C.J. DeWitt, a retired minister editor who moved south in 1890 for health reasons. He opened the first post office on the Southern Railroad in 1895. The community is purported to be the namesake of his beloved wife, Sara.

Saraland was sparsely populated during the first part of the 20th century, until an industrial and population boom occurred in neighboring Mobile. Northward expansion of Mobile in the 1940s and 50s brought about the incorporation of Saraland in 1957. At the time of incorporation, the city reported only 125 residents. By the 1960 U.S. Census, annexations had swelled the population to 4,595. In 1980, census figures cited 9,844 Saraland residents. Current census records report that as of 2000, Saraland's population has grown to 12,288.

Pick the Best Physical Therapy College near Saraland AL

Selecting the best physical therapy program is an important initial decision you must make to start a fulfilling career in the health care profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you select should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. However there are additional important questions that you need to ask regarding your school of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist school, keep in mind that a number of variables will guide you to your final decision. You may want to go to different campuses to see their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Saraland AL.

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