How to Select a Physical Therapy College near Carrollton 35447
Earning a physical therapist degree near Carrollton AL is an essential first step to launching a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated as a result of injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the necessary education and training. A PT must also become licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to investigate the ones you are considering to ensure they will supply a quality education and meet your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be evaluated in addition to cost and location. But before we cover what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists work in varying settings, including Carrollton AL private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Carrollton AL health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is quite 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 Offered
There are three physical therapy degrees offered for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the only 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 progress to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degrees that are available in the Carrollton 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 qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically provided by community colleges, and require 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy education to prepare candidates to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take four years to complete and commonly incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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 finish, making the total investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential component along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in a number of 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 offered in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Programs Online
While not as prevalent as the more traditional alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Carrollton AL residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition can be significantly less than comparable on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
By now you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning a few of your initial questions, such as the type of physical therapist degree you want to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Carrollton AL area and across Alabama, you’ll need to explore other qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Furthermore, you need to be sure that you select the college that is best for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing schools these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Ask if the schools you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As earlier stated, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you enroll in an online program, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy school and program you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Get in touch with several Carrollton AL physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your program selections. 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 schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of important statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist schools you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Carrollton AL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even outstanding. It also affirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the school you select furnishes both exceptional training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with 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 number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are assessing have relationships with Carrollton AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional connections in the Carrollton health care community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they select will have to be within driving distance of their Carrollton AL home. Students who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT colleges supply some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Ask if the schools you are considering have a financial assistance department and see what kind of aid is offered. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist school you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Carrollton AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask 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 Carrollton Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Carrollton AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
The Pickens County Courthouse in the center of Carrollton was erected in 1877. The first courthouse in Carrollton was burned on April 5, 1865 by troops of Union General John T. Croxton. A second courthouse was destroyed by a fire on November 16, 1876.
Incorporated in 1831, the town was named after Charles Carroll of Carrollton, Maryland, the only Roman Catholic and longest-living signer of the Declaration of Independence. A post office has been in operation at Carrollton since 1831.
As was typical, the county jail was located at the courthouse. The courthouse square was used frequently as a site for public lynchings by whites of African Americans, part of numerous efforts to suppress them during a time of high tensions as whites struggled for dominance. It was part of a program of intimidation and racial terrorism, with these murders frequent in the decades on either side of the turn of the 20th century. Among the numerous African Americans lynched in Carrollton was John Gibson, hanged on August 28, 1907. Pickens County had the fifth highest total of lynchings in Alabama, according to Lynching in America (2015, 3rd edition), published by the Equal Justice Initiative.
Choose the Ideal Physical Therapy Training Program near Carrollton AL
Selecting the right physical therapist college is a necessary first decision you need to make to start a rewarding career in the health care profession. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you enroll in should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are additional relevant questions that you should ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapy school, keep in mind that numerous factors will guide you toward your final decision. You might decide to visit each of the campuses to view their facilities and speak 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 adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Carrollton AL.
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