How to Select a Physical Therapist Program near Hartselle 35640
Earning a physical therapist degree near Hartselle AL is an essential first step to launching a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated due to injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the appropriate education and training. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number 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 evaluate those you are considering to make certain they will provide a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is enroll in a school just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be considered besides cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in diverse locations, including Hartselle AL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a course of treatment to address the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Hartselle AL health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone thinking about going into 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 long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
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 available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degrees that are available in the Hartselle AL area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are usually provided by community colleges, and require two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually part of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to prepare students to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be eligible 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 incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required if you want to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program also must 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 most cases. Clinical training is an essential component in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor 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 available in the USA. A number of practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Programs Online
While not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated 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 curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Hartselle AL residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition can be significantly lower than comparable on-campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
By now you probably have come to decision regarding some of your initial questions, including the kind of physical therapy degree you want to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Hartselle AL area and across Alabama, you’ll have to explore additional qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college options. Also, you want 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 need to ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously mentioned, 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 college, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important 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 recognized accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can investigate a PT program’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call a few Hartselle AL physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your school options. It might also be a good idea to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two significant statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might 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 college’s job placement program, particularly in the Hartselle AL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even outstanding. It also confirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to help students obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the program you choose furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapy schools you are evaluating have associations with Hartselle AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Hartselle health care community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Hartselle AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Support Provided? The majority of DPT colleges supply some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid department and see what type of aid is obtainable. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapy program you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Hartselle AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option 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 because of illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Hartselle Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Hartselle AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Hartselle is the second largest city in Morgan County, Alabama, United States, about 10 miles (16 km) south of Decatur, and is included in the Decatur Metropolitan Area, and the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area.
As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the population of the city was 14,255. Hartselle was founded in 1870 with the arrival of the South and North Alabama Railroad. It takes its name from George Hartsell, one of the railroad's owners. The post office opened in 1873. It was formally incorporated on March 1, 1875. Most of the oldest buildings were destroyed by a disastrous fire in 1916.
Hartselle is located at 34°26′25″N 86°56′25″W / 34.44028°N 86.94028°W / 34.44028; -86.94028Coordinates: 34°26′25″N 86°56′25″W / 34.44028°N 86.94028°W / 34.44028; -86.94028 (34.440383, -86.940385).
Pick the Best Physical Therapist College near Hartselle AL
Deciding on the ideal physical therapist program is an important first decision you have to make to launch a gratifying career in the health care field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you pick should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are additional important questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapy college, keep in mind that numerous factors will guide you to your ultimate decision. You may want to visit different colleges to view their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed 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 ideal selection. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Hartselle AL.
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