How to Pick a Physical Therapist College near Oxford 72565
Earning a physical therapist degree near Oxford AL is an essential first step to launching a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated due to injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must 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 important to evaluate the ones you are considering to make sure they will supply a quality education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is select a college just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be evaluated besides location and cost. But before we cover 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 Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists work in a variety of settings, such as Oxford AL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they create a program of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Oxford AL medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Offered
There are 3 physical therapy degrees available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the one degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degrees that are offered in the Oxford AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are most often provided by community or junior colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to prep students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically take four years to complete and usually include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated 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). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the overall commitment seven years in most cases. Clinical training is an intregal element in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in some states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer attainable in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Schools Online
While not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Oxford AL home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition can be somewhat less than comparable on campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
By now you most likely have come to decision concerning some of your initial questions, like the type 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 because there are so many PT colleges within the Oxford AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll need to research other qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of school choices. Moreover, you want to make certain that you pick the program that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have received 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 program, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact some Oxford AL physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your program selections. It might also be prudent 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 couple of important statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapy colleges you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students left because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Oxford AL area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps excellent. It also affirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the school you choose furnishes both exceptional 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) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the physical therapist colleges you are evaluating have relationships with Oxford AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Oxford medical community and assist with job placement after licensing.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapist school they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Oxford 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 area internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? The majority of DPT schools provide some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are looking at have a financial assistance department and find out what kind of aid is available. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. A number of physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapist program you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Oxford AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Oxford Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Oxford AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Oxford is a city in Calhoun and Talladega counties in the State of Alabama. The population was 21,348 at the 2010 census, an increase of 46.3% since the 2000 Census. Oxford is one of two principal cities of and included in the Anniston-Oxford Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Founded in the early 1850s, Oxford was the first city in Calhoun County to be incorporated, in 1852. The name "Oxford" was due to the presence of a narrow crossing of Chocolocco Creek that allowed farmers to ford cattle from one side of the creek to the other. Since 1970, Oxford has annexed large amounts of land to the south and west, including the communities of Coldwater and Bynum. In 1970, it was all in Calhoun County, but today it includes areas in Talladega County.
A smaller municipality, Hobson City, was once a part of Oxford. The area, then known as the Mooree Quarter, is one square mile, and is located north and west of Oxford, and south and west of Anniston. In the last years of the 19th century, according to tradition, in the course of political elections, a black man managed to be elected justice of the peace in Oxford. This being unacceptable to the city fathers, they appealed to the powers in the state capital, and an 'arrangement' was made. The city boundaries were redrawn, in similar fashion to a gerrymander, and the quarter was excluded, becoming a town unto itself. The new town became incorporated on August 16, 1899 as Hobson City, taking the name of a naval hero of the Spanish–American War. The intention was that the largely black population of this quarter would no longer skew the elections of the now almost exclusively white Oxford. Another result was the creation of only the second town in the United States (after Eatonville, Florida) with 100% black government, and an almost 100% black population (at least at first).
Enroll in the Best Physical Therapy School near Oxford AL
Picking the ideal physical therapy school is an important initial decision you have to make to launch a rewarding career in the health care profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you decide on should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are other critical questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapy program, keep in mind that many variables will guide you toward your final decision. You may decide to visit different schools to see their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me achieve my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the proper education and training, you can accomplish your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Oxford AL.
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