How to Choose a Physical Therapy Program near Huxford 36543
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Huxford AL is an important first step to launching a rewarding career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled due to injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the appropriate training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee earn 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 make sure they will deliver a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be considered along with location and cost. But before we cover 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 is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in varying settings, such as Huxford AL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to prevent any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Huxford AL medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapy degrees available for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is offered to become 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. Following are short descriptions of degree levels that are offered in the Huxford AL area:
- Associate Degrees train 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 equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are most often provided by community colleges, and take about two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy education to ready students to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they normally require four years to complete and often incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required in order to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program must also be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to complete, making the overall investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an important element in addition to the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, 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 United States. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Schools Online
While not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online part of the course of study can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Huxford AL home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition can be significantly less than comparable on campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
At this point you probably have made a decision regarding some of your preliminary questions, 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 so many PT colleges within the Huxford AL area and across Alabama, you’ll have to research additional qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of college options. Furthermore, you want to be sure that you select the school that is ideal for you. That’s why we have put together a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Ask if the programs you are considering have earned 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 enroll in an online program, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Contact a few Huxford AL physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your college options. It might also be a good idea to check with the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two useful statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist schools you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Huxford AL area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care field is good or even excellent. It also confirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you enroll in provides both excellent training and a course of study 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) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing have partnerships with Huxford AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Huxford healthcare community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Huxford AL residence. Students who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Most DPT schools supply some type of financial support to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are examining have a financial aid department and see what kind of aid is obtainable. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapy college you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Huxford AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Huxford Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Huxford AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Baldwin County, Alabama
Baldwin County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama. According to the 2015 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, the population is approximately 203,709. The county seat is Bay Minette. The county is named in honor of Senator Abraham Baldwin, though he never lived in what is now Alabama.
It is the largest county in Alabama by area and is located on the eastern side of Mobile Bay. Part of its western border with Mobile County is formed by the Spanish River, a brackish distributary river.
Baldwin County was established on December 21, 1809, ten years before Alabama became a state. Previously, the county had been a part of the Mississippi Territory until 1817, when the area was included in the separate Alabama Territory. Statehood was gained by Alabama in 1819.
Choose the Ideal Physical Therapy School near Huxford AL
Deciding on the best physical therapist college is a necessary initial decision you must make to launch a fulfilling career in the healthcare profession. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you pick should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are other important questions that you need to ask regarding your school of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapy college, keep in mind that numerous variables will guide you toward your final decision. You might want to visit different campuses to view their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the right choice. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Huxford AL.
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