How to Enroll In a Physical Therapy Program near Oakman 35579
Getting a physical therapist degree near Oakman AL is an essential first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated 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 necessary education and training. A PT must also become licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research those you are looking at to make certain they will supply a quality education and meet your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is select a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be considered along with cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in varying settings, such as Oakman 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 diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to address the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Oakman AL medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone considering entering the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are three physical therapist degree options offered for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is attainable to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are brief explanations of degree levels that are available in the Oakman AL area:
- Associate Degrees educate 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 GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically made available by community or junior colleges, and require two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically part of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy education to ready candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they generally take four years to complete and commonly incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 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 complete, making the total commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an intregal element along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion 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 replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer available in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Colleges
While not as prevalent as the more traditional options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Oakman AL home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition can be somewhat lower than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
By now you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning several of your initial questions, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you want to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Oakman AL area and across Alabama, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Also, you want to make sure that you select the college that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Ask if the programs you are reviewing 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 school, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you select have outstanding 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 place their graduates with. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Get in touch with some Oakman AL physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your program selections. It may 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 colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of important statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist programs you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Oakman AL area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also affirms that the college has a large network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you enroll in provides both superior training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapy programs you are reviewing have partnerships with Oakman AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Oakman health care community and help with job placement once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Oakman AL home. Those 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 concern. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Support Provided? Most DPT schools provide some type of financial aid to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid department and find out what type of aid is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapy program you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Oakman AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Oakman Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Oakman AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Oakman is a town in Walker County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 789, down from 944 in 2000. Initially named Day (or Day's) Gap, it was renamed Oakman and incorporated in 1895.
As of the census of 2000, there were 944 people, 386 households, and 265 families residing in the town. The population density was 303.1 people per square mile (117.2/km²). There were 449 housing units at an average density of 144.1 per square mile (55.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 79.66% White, 19.60% Black or African American, and 0.74% from two or more races. 0.74% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 386 households out of which 34.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.9% were married couples living together, 16.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.3% were non-families. 28.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.02.
Select the Ideal Physical Therapy College near Oakman AL
Picking the ideal physical therapy college is an important first decision you need to make to launch a fulfilling career in the health care field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you select should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. But there are additional relevant questions that you should ask regarding your college of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapy school, bear in mind that many factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You may want to go to different campuses to see their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the best selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can achieve your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Oakman AL.
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