How to Enroll In a Physical Therapist Degree Program near Alexandria 36250
Earning a physical therapy degree near Alexandria AL is a critical first step to starting a fulfilling career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled 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 obtain the appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to evaluate the ones you are thinking about to ensure they will provide a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is select a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated in addition to cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists work in diverse locations, such as Alexandria 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 diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they create a program of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Alexandria AL medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, 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 individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short descriptions of degrees that are offered in the Alexandria AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are usually provided by community or junior colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a portion of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education 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 important preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they generally require 4 years to finish and commonly include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required in order to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program must also 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 or practical training is an important component along with the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in some 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 USA. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Degrees Online
Although not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the curriculum can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Alexandria AL home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition can be significantly lower than comparable on-campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding some of your preliminary questions, like the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the Alexandria AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll have to explore additional qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of college options. Moreover, you want to make sure that you enroll in the college that is right for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are considering. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. 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 choose an online program, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT school’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call a few Alexandria AL physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your program selections. It might also be prudent to check with the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapy colleges you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Alexandria AL area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or even excellent. It also affirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you enroll in furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that supports 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 school. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapy programs you are reviewing have associations with Alexandria AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Alexandria health care community and help with job placement after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Alexandria AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend classes online 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 decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? Most DPT schools offer some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are considering have a financial assistance department and see what type of assistance is available. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapy college you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Alexandria AL area, make sure 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 need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Alexandria Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Alexandria AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Alexandria (/ˌælɪɡˈzændriə/ or /-ˈzɑːnd-/;Egyptian Arabic: إسكندريه Eskendereyya; Arabic: الإسكندرية al-ʾIskandariyya; Coptic: ⲁⲗⲉⲝⲁⲛⲇⲣⲓⲁ Alexandria or ⲣⲁⲕⲟϯ Rakote) is the second-largest city in Egypt and a major economic centre, extending about 32 km (20 mi) along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country. Its low elevation on the Nile delta makes it highly vulnerable to rising sea levels. Alexandria is an important industrial center because of its natural gas and oil pipelines from Suez. Alexandria is also a popular tourist destination.
Alexandria was founded around a small, ancient Egyptian town c. 332 BC by Alexander the Great. It became an important center of Hellenistic civilization and remained the capital of Ptolemaic Egypt and Roman and Byzantine Egypt for almost 1,000 years, until the Muslim conquest of Egypt in AD 641, when a new capital was founded at Fustat (later absorbed into Cairo). Hellenistic Alexandria was best known for the Lighthouse of Alexandria (Pharos), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World; its Great Library (the largest in the ancient world; now replaced by a modern one); and the Necropolis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages. Alexandria was at one time the second most powerful city of the ancient Mediterranean region, after Rome. Ongoing maritime archaeology in the harbor of Alexandria, which began in 1994, is revealing details of Alexandria both before the arrival of Alexander, when a city named Rhacotis existed there, and during the Ptolemaic dynasty.
From the late 18th century, Alexandria became a major center of the international shipping industry and one of the most important trading centers in the world, both because it profited from the easy overland connection between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, and the lucrative trade in Egyptian cotton.
Choose the Right Physical Therapy College near Alexandria AL
Selecting the ideal physical therapist college is an important initial decision you need to make to begin a rewarding career in the medical profession. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you pick should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. However there are additional important questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapist college, bear in mind that numerous factors will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You may want to visit each of the schools to see their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me reach 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 options so you can make the right selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Alexandria AL.
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