How to Select a Physical Therapist Degree Program near Autaugaville 36003
Receiving a physical therapy degree near Autaugaville AL is an important first step to beginning a rewarding career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated due to injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the necessary education and training. A PT must also become licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate those you are considering to make sure they will furnish a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is select a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be evaluated besides location and cost. But before we cover 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 is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists work in varying settings, including Autaugaville AL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a program of treatment to address the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Autaugaville AL health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are three physical therapy degree options available for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is attainable to become 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. Below are short summaries of degree levels that are available in the Autaugaville AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are usually offered by junior or community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a portion of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to prep students to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they normally require 4 years to complete and often incorporate 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 also must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to finish, making the overall investment of time seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal element along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in several states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer available in the USA. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Degrees Online
Although not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Autaugaville AL home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition might be significantly lower than similar on campus alternatives, and expenditures 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 alternative the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
By now you most likely have come to decision concerning some of your preliminary queries, including the type 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 because there are numerous PT colleges within the Autaugaville AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of school choices. Furthermore, you need to make sure that you select the school that is ideal for you. That’s why we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering. Ask all of the potential schools these questions before making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Ask if the schools you are looking at 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 select an online college, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, beginning with requesting 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 several Autaugaville AL physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your school options. It may also be prudent to check with 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 Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Autaugaville AL area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps excellent. It also confirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you enroll in provides both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although 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 supplemental exams.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing have relationships with Autaugaville AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional relationships in the Autaugaville medical community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they select will have to be within driving distance of their Autaugaville AL residence. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area 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 even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Most DPT schools provide some type of financial aid to their prospective students. Ask if the colleges you are considering have a financial aid office and find out what kind of assistance is available. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. Some physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapist program you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Autaugaville AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Autaugaville Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Autaugaville 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 2010, there were 870 people, 350 households, and 243 families residing in the town. The population density was 114.2 people per square mile (44.1/km2). There were 412 housing units at an average density of 54.1 per square mile (20.9/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 66.8% Black or African American, 31.3% White, 0.2% Native American, 0.3% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. 0.8% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 350 households of which 29.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.6% were married couples living together, 4.9% had a male householder with no wife present, 26.0% has a female householder with no husband present, and 30.6% were non-families. 26.6% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 3.00.
In the town, the population was spread out with 27.1% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 27.9% from 25 to 44, 24.6% from 45 to 64, and 11.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36.3 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.6 males.
Pick the Right Physical Therapist Degree Program near Autaugaville AL
Deciding on the ideal physical therapy college is a necessary first decision you have to make to launch a gratifying career in the healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you pick should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are additional important questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapy school, keep in mind that a number of variables will lead you to your final decision. You may decide to visit each of the schools to see their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed 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 appropriate choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Autaugaville AL.
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