How to Find the Right Physical Therapist Training Program near Fairfield 35064
Earning a physical therapy degree near Fairfield AL is a critical first step to launching a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled due to injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the appropriate training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s important to research the ones you are looking at to make sure they will furnish a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college 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 besides cost and location. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in varying settings, including Fairfield AL private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to address the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Fairfield AL medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapist degree options available for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief explanations of degree levels that are available in the Fairfield AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be 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 qualify for enrollment. The programs are most often offered by community colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a portion of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to prepare students to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take four years to finish and often include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required in order to become a practicing licensed physical therapist. The degree program also must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the overall investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential component in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not just for graduation but in a number of states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer attainable in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Colleges Online
While not as common as the more traditional options, there are some accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online portion of the course of study can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Fairfield AL residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition might be significantly lower than comparable on-campus options, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding a few of your initial questions, such as the kind 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 considering there are so many PT colleges within the Fairfield AL area and across Alabama, you’ll need to research other qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of school options. Moreover, you need to make certain that you enroll in the college that is best for you. That’s why we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Ask if the schools you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. 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 choose an online college, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy school and program you select are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call a few Fairfield AL physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your program 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 Rate? There are a two relevant statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapy colleges you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Fairfield AL area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even excellent. It also verifies that the college has a large network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the program you select provides both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are interested in have associations with Fairfield AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Fairfield healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist school they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Fairfield AL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Most DPT schools supply some form of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are considering have a financial aid office and see what type of aid is offered. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. Some physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapist college you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fairfield AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Fairfield Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Fairfield AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Fairfield is a city in western Jefferson County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Birmingham metropolitan area and is located southeast of Pleasant Grove. The population was 11,117 at the 2010 census.
This city was founded in 1910 in which the featured speaker at the dedication ceremony was former President Theodore Roosevelt. It was originally named Corey, after an executive of U.S. Steel Corporation. The name was later changed to the city in which the President of U.S. Steel lived, Fairfield, Connecticut. It was planned as a model city by the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company to house workers in their new Fairfield Works plant, now owned by U.S. Steel, similar to its northeastern city of Ensley.
As of the census of 2000, there were 12,381 people, 4,600 households, and 3,141 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,503.8 people per square mile (1,354.2/km²). There were 4,960 housing units at an average density of 1,403.7 per square mile (542.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 8.90% White, 90.23% Black or African American, 0.06% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.17% from other races, and 0.48% from two or more races. 0.59% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Choose the Ideal Physical Therapy Training Program near Fairfield AL
Choosing the best physical therapy program is a necessary first decision you have to make to begin a fulfilling career in the health care profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you pick should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. But there are additional relevant questions that you should ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapist school, keep in mind that numerous factors will guide you toward your final decision. You may decide to go to different colleges to see their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following 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 of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Fairfield AL.
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