How to Enroll In a Physical Therapist Degree Program near Theodore 36582
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Theodore AL is a critical first step to launching a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated due to illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the proper training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to investigate the ones you are considering to ensure they will supply a superior education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is select a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be evaluated along with cost and location. 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 what the educational options are.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists practice in varying locations, including Theodore AL private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to address the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Theodore AL medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degree Options
There are three physical therapist degree options offered for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief descriptions of degrees that are available in the Theodore AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or can 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 usually offered by community colleges, and take about two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a portion of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy training to prepare students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they generally take 4 years to complete and usually include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program must also be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the total commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an important component along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in some 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 available in the United States. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Programs Online
While not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated 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 convenience and comfort of the student’s Theodore AL home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition might be significantly less than similar on-campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
By now you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning a few of your initial queries, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you intend to obtain, 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 Theodore AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll have to research additional qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of school options. Moreover, you need to make sure that you choose the program that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing schools these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Ask if the programs you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As earlier mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you select an online college, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several ways you can investigate a PT school’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Get in touch with a few Theodore AL physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your program options. It may also be prudent to contact 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 Percentage? There are a two relevant statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapy colleges you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once 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 Theodore AL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also confirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program 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 working. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are reviewing have relationships with Theodore 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 secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Theodore health care community and assist with job placement after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Theodore AL residence. Students who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to bear 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 generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Support Provided? The majority of DPT colleges offer some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Ask if the schools you are considering have a financial aid office and find out what kind of assistance is offered. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapy college you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Theodore AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Theodore Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Theodore AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Theodore is a census-designated place (CDP) in Mobile County, Alabama, United States. The population was 6,130 at the 2010 census. It is a part of the Mobile metropolitan statistical area. Prior to 1900 this area was known as Clements, but is now named for William Theodore Hieronymous (a sawmill operator and postmaster).
As of the census of 2000, there were 6,811 people, 2,483 households, and 1,926 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 571.6 people per square mile (220.6/km²). There were 2,697 housing units at an average density of 226.3 per square mile (87.4/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 71.11% White, 25.58% Black or African American, 0.62% Native American, 1.29% Asian, 0.41% from other races, and 1.00% from two or more races. 1.38% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 2,483 households out of which 38.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.6% were married couples living together, 19.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.4% were non-families. 19.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.73 and the average family size was 3.11.
Enroll in the Best Physical Therapist Training Program near Theodore AL
Deciding on the best physical therapy college is a necessary initial decision you need to make to launch a rewarding career in the medical field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you choose should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are additional critical questions that you should ask regarding your college of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapy college, bear in mind that numerous factors will lead you to your final decision. You might want to visit each of the schools to view their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me achieve my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the right choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Theodore AL.
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