How to Choose a Physical Therapy Degree Program near Thomasville 36784
Receiving a physical therapy degree near Thomasville AL is an important first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated due to injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the appropriate training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate those you are considering to make certain they will deliver a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is enroll in a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated in addition to location and cost. 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 diverse locations, including Thomasville AL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also try to prevent any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Thomasville AL medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also manage several physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
There are 3 physical therapy degree options offered for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, 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 readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief descriptions of degree levels that are available in the Thomasville AL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are most often made available by community or junior colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to prepare candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they normally require four years to complete and commonly include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement if you want to become a practicing licensed 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 investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an important element in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in several states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer attainable in the USA. A number of practicing physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Schools
Although not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the school campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Thomasville AL home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition might be significantly less than similar on-campus options, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
At this point you most likely have come to decision concerning a few of your initial questions, including the type 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 because there are numerous PT colleges within the Thomasville AL area and across Alabama, you’ll have to look into other qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school options. Furthermore, you need to make certain that you select the program that is best for you. That’s why 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 colleges these questions before making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Ask if the programs you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. 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 imperative that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with some Thomasville AL physical therapy centers or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your program options. 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 School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapy colleges you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Thomasville AL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also confirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you choose provides both excellent training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapy programs you are reviewing have partnerships with Thomasville AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional connections in the Thomasville healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are looking at what the typical teacher to student 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 an opportunity to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Thomasville AL residence. Individuals who have decided 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 bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Support Provided? The majority of DPT colleges provide some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are examining have a financial aid department and see what kind of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. A number of physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapy program you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Thomasville AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Thomasville Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Thomasville AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Thomasville is a city in Clarke County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 4,209. Founded as a late 19th-century railroad town, it has transitioned over the course of more than a century into a 21st-century commercial hub. It is the childhood hometown of author and storyteller Kathryn Tucker Windham.
Thomasville was founded in 1888 and incorporated on November 24 of that year. The former community of Choctaw Corner, dating back to the antebellum period, was a settlement west of what would become Thomasville, but when the merchants there learned that a railroad was going to bypass their town to the east, they decided to move their stores to be near the railroad. The former community is now inside the city limits. The tracks between Mobile and Selma were completed the same year that Thomasville began. First referred to as "Choctaw", the town was named after railroad financier and former Union Civil War general, Samuel Thomas, after he donated $500 for the construction of Thomasville's first school. The town had expanded by the end of the 19th century with numerous stores, several hotels and boarding houses, and a depot station. In 1899, what is now downtown was destroyed by a fire that burned several blocks of the wood frame buildings. Thomasville quickly rebuilt, this time in brick, and was once again flourishing by the start of World War I.
Over the next century, Thomasville continued to grow and expand. Over the years, many businesses came and others left. These included garment factories, sawmills, and cotton gins. The railroad discontinued its use of the town's depot by the 1950s, but that time also saw the opening of Thomasville's FPS-35 radar base, part of the Air Defense Command's Semi Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) system, bringing in servicemen and their families. The prototype for the FPS-35 radar was developed at the Thomasville Aircraft Control and Warning Station. The 1950s also saw the planting of roses along Highway 43, the main highway through Thomasville, earning it the nickname of The City of Roses. The 1960s and 1970s saw the opening of numerous paper mills in the area, an industry that continues to be important to the economy of Thomasville today. This time also saw businesses begin to relocate from downtown to the main highway. The Thomasville Historic District was designated in 1999 by the National Register of Historic Places.
Enroll in the Ideal Physical Therapist Training Program near Thomasville AL
Deciding on the ideal physical therapist school is an important initial decision you have to make to begin a rewarding career in the healthcare profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you select should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are other important questions that you should ask concerning your school of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapist college, keep in mind that numerous variables will lead you to your final decision. You might decide to go to each of the schools to view their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the right selection. And with the proper training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Thomasville AL.
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