How to Pick a Physical Therapist Degree Program near Centreville 35042
Getting a physical therapy degree near Centreville AL is an essential first step to launching a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the proper training and education. A PT must also become licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate the ones you are considering to make sure they will supply a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is choose a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be considered along with location and cost. But before we discuss 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 practice in varying settings, such as Centreville AL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes 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 people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Centreville AL health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to take note of for anyone considering going into 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 extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapy degrees offered for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is attainable to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degrees that are offered in the Centreville AL area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often offered by junior or community colleges, and take about two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually part of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to prep candidates to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally take 4 years to finish and often include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required 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 three years to finish, making the overall commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal component along with the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not just 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 phased out and is no longer attainable in the USA. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Schools Online
While not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined 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 program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Centreville AL residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat lower than similar on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
By now you probably have made a decision concerning some of your preliminary queries, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you want to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Centreville AL area and across Alabama, you’ll need to research other qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of college choices. Also, you need to make certain that you choose the program that is best for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist programs you are considering. Ask each of the competing schools these questions before making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Find out if the programs you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously 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 choose an online school, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist school and program you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT college’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Contact some Centreville AL physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your college selections. It might also be a good idea 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 Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Centreville AL area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even excellent. It also confirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the School 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 requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist colleges you are interested in have relationships with Centreville AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional connections in the Centreville healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Centreville AL residence. Individuals who have chosen 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 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 commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Support Offered? The majority of DPT colleges supply some type of financial support to their prospective students. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance office and see what kind of aid is offered. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. Some physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapist school you ultimately select can furnish 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 Centreville AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Centreville Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Centreville AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Centreville has a total area of 9.6 square miles (24.9 km2), of which 9.5 square miles (24.5 km2) are land and 0.15 square miles (0.4 km2), or 1.52%, is water.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Centreville has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps. 
Centreville is the site of the highest recorded temperature in the state of Alabama. On September 6, 1925, the temperature in Centreville reached the state record of 112 ºF. The data below are for the years 1916 to 1974.
Enroll in the Best Physical Therapy School near Centreville AL
Picking the best physical therapy program is a necessary initial decision you must make to start a gratifying career in the healthcare profession. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you choose should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are additional relevant questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapist college, bear in mind that a number of factors will guide you toward your final decision. You may decide to go to each of the schools to see their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the best choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Centreville AL.
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