How to Find the Right Physical Therapy Program near Cottondale 35453
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Cottondale AL is a critical first step to beginning a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled due to injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to investigate those you are considering to ensure they will deliver a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be evaluated in addition to 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’s Job Description?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of settings, such as Cottondale 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 earlier mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Cottondale AL health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone considering entering the physical therapy field, it is rather 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 Available
There are three physical therapist degrees available for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is offered 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 advance to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degree levels that are available in the Cottondale AL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are most often offered by community or junior colleges, and require 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to prepare candidates to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically require four years to complete and usually incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement in order 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 complete, making the total investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential element in addition to the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not only 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 phased out and is no longer offered in the USA. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Programs
While not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are some 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 college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the program may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Cottondale AL residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition might be somewhat lower than similar on campus options, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
At this point you probably have come to decision concerning a few of your preliminary questions, like the type of physical therapist degree you want to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Cottondale AL area and across Alabama, you’ll need to research additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school choices. Moreover, you need to be sure that you select the program that is right for you. That’s why we have collected a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Ask if the schools you are reviewing have received accreditation from a national or a regional 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 school, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT college’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Call a few Cottondale AL physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your college options. It might also be prudent to check with 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 significant statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapist colleges you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Cottondale AL area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps excellent. It also affirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the college you select 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 each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the physical therapist colleges you are evaluating have relationships with Cottondale AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional connections in the Cottondale medical community and assist with job placement once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are researching what the average 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 decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Cottondale AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Most DPT colleges offer some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are looking at have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of assistance is offered. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you may 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 beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapist college you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Cottondale AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Cottondale Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Cottondale AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Richard Price Rummonds
Richard Price Rummonds (also known as Richard-Gabriel Price Rummonds), one of the foremost handpress printers of the late twentieth century, is also an author, publisher, typographer, and historian of printing. His two books on nineteenth-century printing, Printing on the Iron Handpress and Nineteenth-Century Printing Practices and the Iron Handpress, comprehensively describe the history, operation and merits of the iron handpress.
Born on April 26, 1931, in Long Beach, California, Rummonds was raised in Sacramento, California. He attended Syracuse University in 1949–1950, in the School of Fine Arts, with the intention of majoring in set and costume design and the University of California at Berkeley intermittently between 1950 and 1954, where he majored in English and Creative Writing. During this period he was on the staff of Occident, the student literary magazine, of which he became the editor for the Spring 1954 issue.
Rummonds began printing in Quito, Ecuador in 1966, using the Plain Wrapper Press imprint. His first book was a selection of his own poems. The following year in Buenos Aires, Argentina, he printed a book of his short stories.
Choose the Best Physical Therapy College near Cottondale AL
Picking the best physical therapy school is an important first decision you have to make to begin a rewarding career in the health care profession. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you choose should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. But there are additional relevant questions that you need to ask pertaining to your school of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapy school, bear in mind that many variables will lead you to your final decision. You may want to go to different schools to view their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me accomplish 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 field so you can make the right selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Cottondale AL.
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