How to Choose a Physical Therapy Degree Program near Clanton 35045
Receiving a physical therapy degree near Clanton AL is an essential first step to starting a fulfilling career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the proper training and education. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to research the ones you are considering to ensure they will deliver a quality education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is enroll in a college just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be evaluated along with 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 Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists work in a variety of settings, such as Clanton AL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Clanton AL health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to take note of for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are three physical therapy degrees available for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short summaries of degree levels that are offered in the Clanton AL area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are usually made available by community or junior colleges, and take about two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy training to prepare students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take four years to complete and often include an internship program of at least 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 three years to complete, making the overall commitment seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal component in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in a number of 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 phased out and is no longer attainable in the United States. A number of practicing physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Online Programs
While not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapy programs available, 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 near the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online portion of the course of study can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Clanton AL residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition may be significantly less than comparable on campus options, and costs for commuting are minimized. And many 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 dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning a few of your initial queries, including the type of physical therapist degree you intend to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Clanton AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Also, you need to make sure that you enroll in the school that is right for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy colleges you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Ask if the schools you are reviewing have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As earlier stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you enroll in an online program, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT school’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Contact some Clanton AL physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your school options. It may also be a good idea to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once 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 Clanton AL area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even outstanding. It also verifies that the college has a wide network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the program you choose 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) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are interested in have relationships with Clanton AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional connections in the Clanton health care community and help with job placement once licensed.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Clanton AL residence. Those who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT colleges supply some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance department and find out what kind of assistance is offered. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. Some physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapy college you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Clanton AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn 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 Clanton Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Clanton AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Clanton is a city in Chilton County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Birmingham–Hoover–Cullman Combined Statistical Area. At the 2010 census the population was 8,619. The city is the county seat of Chilton County. Clanton is the site of the geographic center of the U.S state of Alabama.
The town was founded by Alfred Baker in 1868, when Chilton County was formed. Prior to establishment in 1868, the Town of Clanton was known as the community of "Goose Pond". Baker County was renamed to Chilton County and the community of "Goose Pond" became the Town of Clanton. Clanton was named in honor of General James H. Clanton, a brigadier in the Confederate States Army, and was incorporated on April 23, 1873. Baker was also elected first mayor of the town.
Nearby Lay Lake Dam and Mitchell Dam became Alabama Power's first two dams in the state, bringing economic improvements to the area. Immigrants played a part in starting the county's peach industry more than a century ago. Today, the peach industry is the number one industry in Chilton County, not only bringing fame to the county, but also millions of dollars to the local economy. The city of Clanton constructed a water tower in the form of a peach in 1993, becoming a landmark for travelers along Interstate 65.
Select the Best Physical Therapy School near Clanton AL
Deciding on the best physical therapist school is a necessary initial decision you must make to start a rewarding career in the health care profession. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you choose should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. But there are other relevant questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapist program, keep in mind that many factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might decide to go to different campuses to view their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me realize 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 best choice. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Clanton AL.
A Few More Interesting Locations in Alabama