How to Enroll In a Physical Therapist Training Program near Sumiton 35148
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Sumiton AL is an essential first step to starting a fulfilling career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated as a result of 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 also be licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to evaluate those you are considering to ensure they will provide a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is enroll in a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be evaluated besides cost and location. But before we discuss 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 Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in a variety of settings, including Sumiton AL private practices, hospitals, 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 previously stated, physical therapists help individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they create a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to stop any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Sumiton AL health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone thinking about 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 prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are three physical therapist degree options offered for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degree levels that are offered in the Sumiton AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically provided by community or junior colleges, and require 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually part of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy training to prep students to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically require four years to complete and usually incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 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). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to finish, making the total commitment seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal element in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in a number of 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 eliminated and is no longer available in the United States. Some practicing 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 implemented.
Physical Therapist Degrees Online
While not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work 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 part of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Sumiton AL residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat less than comparable on campus options, and costs for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
By now you most likely have made a decision concerning several of your initial questions, like the kind 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 considering there are so many PT schools within the Sumiton AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll have to research other qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college options. Also, you need to make certain that you choose the college that is best for you. That’s why we have put together a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Ask if the schools you are reviewing have received 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 enroll in an online program, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call a few Sumiton AL physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your program selections. It might also be prudent to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Sumiton AL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or even outstanding. It also affirms that the college has a broad network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the school you choose provides both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies 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) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the physical therapy colleges you are interested in have partnerships with Sumiton AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Sumiton healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are looking at 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 ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Sumiton AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Most DPT schools offer some form of financial support to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at have a financial aid department and see what kind of assistance is offered. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapy college you finally pick 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 Sumiton AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative 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 might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Sumiton Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Sumiton AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,665 people, 1,096 households, and 780 families residing in the city. The population density was 504.9 people per square mile (194.9/km²). There were 1,205 housing units at an average density of 228.3 per square mile (88.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 93.21% White, 3.60% Black or African American, 0.34% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.60% from other races, and 2.06% from two or more races. 0.71% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 1,096 households out of which 28.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.2% were married couples living together, 13.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.8% were non-families. 27.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.89.
In the city, the population was spread out with 21.4% under the age of 18, 9.3% from 18 to 24, 25.8% from 25 to 44, 27.7% from 45 to 64, and 15.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.4 males.
Choose the Ideal Physical Therapy College near Sumiton AL
Selecting the ideal physical therapy program is a necessary initial decision you need to make to begin a gratifying career in the medical profession. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you decide on should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. But there are additional relevant questions that you should ask concerning your school of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapist program, keep in mind that numerous factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might decide to go to different campuses to view their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the right selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Sumiton AL.
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