How to Choose a Physical Therapy Training Program near Loachapoka 36865
Getting a physical therapist degree near Loachapoka AL is an important first step to beginning a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated due to injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate those you are thinking about to make sure they will furnish a superior education and meet 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 home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated in addition to 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 what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists work in a variety of locations, such as Loachapoka AL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Loachapoka AL medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Offered
There are three physical therapist degree options offered for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degree levels that are offered in the Loachapoka AL area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are usually offered by junior or community colleges, and require two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally part of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy training to prep candidates to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they normally require four years to finish and commonly include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required if you want to become a practicing licensed 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 3 years to finish, making the total commitment seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential element along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not just 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 phased out and is no longer offered in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Online Colleges
Although not as common as the more traditional options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Loachapoka AL residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition may be somewhat less than similar on campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
By now you most likely have made a decision concerning a few of your preliminary questions, including the kind of physical therapy degree you want to attain, 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 Loachapoka AL area and across Alabama, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of school choices. Furthermore, you want to be sure that you pick the program that is right for you. That’s why we have put together a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are considering. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions before making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Ask if the programs you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As previously 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 choose an online program, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact several Loachapoka AL physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your college selections. It may also be a good idea to check with the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two relevant statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students dropped out 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 school’s job placement program, particularly in the Loachapoka AL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even exceptional. It also confirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you enroll in provides both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the physical therapist programs you are evaluating have associations with Loachapoka AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Loachapoka health care community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Loachapoka AL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? The majority of DPT schools offer some form of financial aid to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid office and find out what type of help is obtainable. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapy program you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Loachapoka AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Loachapoka Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Loachapoka AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Loachapoka is a town in Lee County, Alabama, United States. It is located less than 1/2 mile west of the City of Auburn and approximately 5 miles West of Auburn University, in west-central Lee County. The population was 180 as of the 2010 census. It is part of the Auburn metropolitan area.
The name "Loachapoka" means "turtle killing place" in Muskogee, with locha meaning "turtle" and poga meaning "killing place." In literature, Lochapoka was the destination of the colonists in James H. Street's 1940 novel Oh, Promised Land.
Loachapoka is governed by a mayor and 5 town council members. However, in the most recent municipal election (2016), no incumbents submitted qualifying paperwork to run for re-election. Therefore, the only citizen that did qualify for the ballot became mayor-elect, as per state law, and this was confirmed by the AL Director of Elections. When the mayor-elect brought the issue to light, several town, county and state officials worked together in a poorly hatched plan to improperly disqualify the only candidate to follow the law for qualification, as referenced in several newspaper articles and audio recordings of town hall meetings. The corruption portrayed in this series of events reflect a pattern of politics in Alabama that has been commonplace for many years, as reported in the Harvard Political Review.
Select the Right Physical Therapist Degree Program near Loachapoka AL
Picking the best physical therapist program is an important initial decision you need to make to start a rewarding career in the healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you choose should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are additional important questions that you need to ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapist school, keep in mind that many variables will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You might decide to visit different colleges to view their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me reach 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 options so you can make the best choice. And with the proper training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Loachapoka AL.
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