How to Enroll In a Physical Therapist School near Sylacauga 35150
Earning a physical therapy degree near Sylacauga AL is an essential first step to beginning a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated due to illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research those you are thinking about to make certain they will provide a quality education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is choose a school just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be considered besides location and cost. 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 the options for education.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in a variety of locations, including Sylacauga AL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a program of treatment to address the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Sylacauga AL medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone considering entering the physical therapy field, 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 Therapist Degrees
There are 3 physical therapist degree options offered for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the one degree that is available to practice as 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 brief summaries of degree levels that are available in the Sylacauga AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually provided by community or junior colleges, and take about two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to ready students to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically require 4 years to finish and often include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required in order 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 complete, making the total investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an essential component in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in some states for licensing also.
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 attainable 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 instituted.
Physical Therapist Schools Online
Although not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy programs available, more so at the graduate level. Due to 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 nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the course of study can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Sylacauga AL home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition can be somewhat less than comparable on-campus options, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning several of your preliminary questions, like the type of physical therapy degree you intend to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are so many PT schools within the Sylacauga AL area and across Alabama, you’ll need to explore additional qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of school choices. Also, you want to make sure that you enroll in the program that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist programs you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are looking at have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As earlier 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 college, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Reputation? In addition to 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 look into a PT program’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact a few Sylacauga AL physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your college options. It might also be prudent 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 College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist colleges you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Sylacauga AL area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also confirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you choose furnishes both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapy schools you are reviewing have partnerships with Sylacauga AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Sylacauga medical community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they select will have to be within driving distance of their Sylacauga AL residence. Students who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind 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 usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? The majority of DPT schools supply some form of financial support to their prospective students. Find out if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid department and see what type of aid is available. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapist college you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Sylacauga AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses 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 emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Sylacauga Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Sylacauga AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Sylacauga is known for its fine white marble bedrock. This was discovered shortly after settlers moved into the area and has been quarried ever since. The marble industry was the first recorded industry in the Sylacauga area.
Sylacauga is the site of the first documented case of an object from outer space hitting a person. On November 30, 1954, a 4 kg (9 lb) piece of what became known as the Hodges Meteorite crashed through the roof of an Oak Grove house, bounced off a radio, and badly bruised Mrs. Ann Hodges, who was taking an afternoon nap.
The first historical account of the area comes from de Soto's chroniclers as he marched south along the east bank of the Coosa River in 1540, encountering the town of Talisi at the edges of the Mississippian-era chiefdoms of Coosa and Tuskaloosa. The inhabitants of the Coosa River Valley were later united as the Creek Indians, whose encounters with the Spanish and French had a significant influence on the history of Sylacauga. Events that occurred between these three groups were partly responsible for the settlement of the village of Chalakagay in 1748 near modern Sylacauga by refugee Shawnee Indians led by Peter Chartier, and Chalakagay was later listed in the French territorial records in 1759 as being a town inhabited by 50 Shawnee Indian warriors. Late in the summer of 1836 all of the Indians remaining in Alabama were taken west by the United States government. The name Sy-la-cau-ga is derived from the Indian words Chalaka-ge which mean "The Place of the Chalaka Tribe". The city was first incorporated in 1838 as Syllacoga and again in 1887 as Sylacauga.
Select the Best Physical Therapist Degree Program near Sylacauga AL
Deciding on the ideal physical therapy college is a necessary initial decision you must make to begin a gratifying career in the health care profession. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you choose should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. However there are additional relevant questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist school, bear in mind that numerous variables will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You might want to visit each of the campuses to view their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me reach my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the right choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Sylacauga AL.
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