How to Choose a Physical Therapist Program near Leeds 35094
Earning a physical therapy degree near Leeds AL is an important first step to beginning a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated due to illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the proper education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to investigate those you are thinking about to make sure they will furnish a superior education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is choose a school just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be evaluated along with cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists practice in varying locations, including Leeds AL private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to prevent any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Leeds AL medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Offered
There are 3 physical therapist degree options available for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief descriptions of degrees that are available in the Leeds AL area:
- Associate Degrees educate 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 degrees are typically provided by junior or community colleges, and take about two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a portion of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training to prepare candidates to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take 4 years to complete and usually include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the total commitment seven years in most cases. Clinical training is an intregal element in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in a number of 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 phased out and is no longer available in the USA. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Colleges Online
While not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the curriculum can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Leeds AL residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition can be somewhat less than similar on campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
By now you probably have made a decision concerning some of your preliminary queries, including the type of physical therapist degree you want to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the Leeds AL area and across Alabama, you’ll have to research other qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of college choices. Furthermore, you need to make sure that you enroll in the school that is best for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you select an online college, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential 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. Besides ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call a few Leeds AL physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your college selections. It may also be prudent to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist schools you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Leeds AL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also verifies that the school has a large network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you enroll in furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the physical therapy schools you are reviewing have relationships with Leeds AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional relationships in the Leeds medical community and assist with job placement after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Leeds AL home. Students who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Most DPT schools supply some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid office and find out what kind of help is offered. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. Some physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapy college you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Leeds AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours 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 work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Leeds Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Leeds AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Leeds is a tri-county municipality located in Jefferson, St. Clair, and Shelby counties in the State of Alabama and is an eastern suburb of Birmingham. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 11,773.
The War of 1812, geography, geology, and three cultures shaped the history of Leeds. Lying at the crossroads of ancient Native-American paths in the center of Alabama, Leeds drew European and African-American settlers to a land of fertile growing seasons and rich sources of coal and mineral ore. The early settlers built churches and schools with many remaining in Cedar Grove, Oak Ridge, Ohanafeefee and Mt. Pleasant. The principal survey of Leeds was entered into Jefferson County Map Book 10, page 21, in 1908. The settlement, dating to 1818 and incorporating on April 27, 1887 as "Leeds", has existed along the banks of the Little Cahaba River; beside an historic stagecoach route; and along two large railroads for the greater part of American History.
James Hamilton, a Scottish-Irish American veteran of the War of 1812 and first sheriff of Shelby County, settled in Cedar Grove in 1816. John Richard Ingram Pashal Stewart, a Cherokee English teacher and American veteran of the War of 1812, settled at Ohanafeefee Village c.1840. At Oak Ridge in 1820 or 1821, European settlers formed Shiloh Cumberland Presbyterian Church, the first CPC congregation in middle Alabama. By 1887, the original railroad pioneers included free African-American settlers who came to work at the Leeds cement plant and the Central of Georgia as the Georgia Pacific railroads. Some gravitated to historic Mt. Pleasant Church where a handful of freed slaves had founded Scott City, Hillard Holley, Ciscero Davis, Jeff Harris, and Bill Johnson started Leeds Negro/Primary School in 1921.
Choose the Right Physical Therapist Degree Program near Leeds AL
Choosing the right physical therapist college is a necessary initial decision you have to make to launch a gratifying career in the medical field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you choose should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. However there are other relevant questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapy program, keep in mind that many factors will guide you to your final decision. You may want to go to each of the colleges to see their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing 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 choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Leeds AL.
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