How to Enroll In a Physical Therapy Degree Program near Selma 36701
Earning a physical therapist degree near Selma AL is an important first step to launching a rewarding career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated due to injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the proper training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s important to research those you are considering to make certain they will provide a superior education and meet your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is choose a college just 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 considered along with cost and location. But before we talk about 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 Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists work in a variety of settings, including Selma AL private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they design a program of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also strive to stop any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Selma AL medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
There are 3 physical therapist degrees available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degrees that are available in the Selma AL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are typically 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 a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy 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 essential preliminary step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically take four years to complete and usually incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement in order 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 finish, making the overall investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential element along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in several states for licensing as well.
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 present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Schools
Although not as prevalent as the on-campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online portion of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Selma AL residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition might be somewhat less than similar on campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning several of your initial queries, including the type of physical therapy degree you would like to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Selma AL area and across Alabama, you’ll need to explore additional qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of college options. Moreover, you want to be sure that you pick the school that is best for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. 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 school, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with several Selma AL physical therapy clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your school selections. It might 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 colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two significant statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist schools you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students left because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Selma AL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also affirms that the program has a large network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you enroll in provides both exceptional 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the physical therapist colleges you are assessing have relationships with Selma AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional connections in the Selma medical community and help with job placement once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they select will have to be within driving distance of their Selma AL residence. Students who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to consider 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 commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? The majority of DPT schools provide some type of financial support to their prospective students. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid office and see what type of help is offered. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapy school you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Selma AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Selma Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Selma AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Selma is a city in and the county seat of Dallas County, in the Black Belt region of south central Alabama and extending to the west. Located on the banks of the Alabama River, the city has a population of 20,756 as of the 2010 census.
The city is best known for the 1960s Selma Voting Rights Movement and the Selma to Montgomery marches, beginning with "Bloody Sunday" in March 1965 and ending with 25,000 people entering Montgomery at the end of the last march to press for voting rights. This activism generated national attention to social justice and that summer, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed by Congress to authorize federal oversight and enforcement of constitutional rights of all citizens.
It had been a trading center and market town during the years of King Cotton in the South. It was also an important armaments manufacturing and iron shipbuilding center during the Civil War, surrounded by miles of earthen fortifications. The Confederate forces were defeated during the Battle of Selma.
Select the Right Physical Therapist College near Selma AL
Deciding on the right physical therapy college is an important initial decision you have to make to start a rewarding career in the healthcare profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you decide on should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are other relevant questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapy program, bear in mind that numerous variables will guide you to your final decision. You might decide to visit different schools to see their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Selma AL.
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