How to Select a Physical Therapy Training Program near Jefferson 36745
Obtaining a physical therapy degree near Jefferson AL is an important first step to starting a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled as a result of injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the proper education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to investigate the ones you are thinking about to make sure they will furnish a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is enroll in a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be considered besides cost and location. But before we talk about 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 Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists work in a variety of locations, including Jefferson AL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Jefferson AL health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy profession, it is quite 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 Therapy Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapy degree options offered for students to enroll in 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 concentrate on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degrees that are available in the Jefferson AL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically provided by junior or community colleges, and require two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a component of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist education to prep candidates to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they generally take four years to complete and commonly include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement if you want to become a practicing licensed 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 complete, making the total investment of time 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an intregal element in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in some states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has taken the place of the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer attainable in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Programs
Although not as prevalent as the more traditional alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature 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 nearby an available internship. However, the online portion of the program may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Jefferson AL residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition can be significantly lower than comparable on campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you most likely have made a decision regarding some of your initial queries, like the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the Jefferson AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll need to explore additional qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Furthermore, you need to be sure that you choose the college that is right for you. That’s why we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As previously 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 program, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapist program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to 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 College’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, starting 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 agencies for their reviews also. Call a few Jefferson AL physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your college options. It might also be prudent to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapist colleges you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Jefferson AL area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also affirms that the school has a large network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you select furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the physical therapy programs you are assessing have relationships with Jefferson AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Jefferson medical community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes permit 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 classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Jefferson AL residence. Students who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider 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 often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? Most DPT colleges offer some type of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid office and see what kind of assistance is available. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. Some physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapist program you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Jefferson AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have 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 Jefferson Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Jefferson AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Al Ricardo Jefferson (born January 4, 1985) is an American former professional basketball player. He played high school basketball for Prentiss High School in Mississippi before skipping college to enter the 2004 NBA draft, where he was drafted 15th overall by the Boston Celtics. He has previously played for the Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves, Utah Jazz, Charlotte Hornets and Indiana Pacers.
Born in Monticello, Mississippi, Jefferson attended Prentiss High School in the small nearby town of Prentiss from 2000 to 2004. After starting for his varsity team as a freshman at Prentiss, he became one of the elite players in the country as a junior, drawing the attention of both college coaches around the country, and the scouts of the NBA. In his senior year for the Bulldogs, he averaged an astounding 42.6 points, 18 rebounds and seven blocks per game as his Bulldogs team went on to lose in the Mississippi state class 3A semi-finals to Byhalia High School 88-73, in which Jefferson finished with 56 points.
Considered a five-star recruit by Rivals.com, Jefferson was listed as the No. 1 center and the No. 4 player in the nation in 2004. He had originally committed to Arkansas, but opted instead to make the jump to the NBA straight out of high school.
Select the Best Physical Therapist Training Program near Jefferson AL
Selecting the right physical therapist college is a necessary first decision you must 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 enroll in should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. But there are other relevant questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapist school, bear in mind that a number of variables will lead you toward your final decision. You may want to go to each of the campuses to view their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me accomplish 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 field so you can make the right choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can achieve your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Jefferson AL.
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