How to Choose a Physical Therapist College near Ozark 36360
Getting a physical therapy degree near Ozark AL is an essential first step to launching a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled due to injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the appropriate training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s important to research those you are considering to make sure they will deliver a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is choose a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be evaluated in addition to 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 is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of locations, such as Ozark AL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent 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 partnerships with other Ozark AL health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are three physical therapy degree options available for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief explanations of degrees that are offered in the Ozark AL area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often offered by community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically part of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to prep candidates to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically require four years to finish and often include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required 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). In addition to 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 component in addition to the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not just for graduation but in several 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 available in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Colleges
Although not as common as the on-campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees available, even more 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 necessitates that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online part of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Ozark AL home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition may be somewhat lower than comparable on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring 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.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding a few of your initial questions, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you intend to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the Ozark AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll have to look into other qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Also, you need to make sure that you choose the college that is ideal for you. That’s the reason 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 schools these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Ask if the schools you are looking at have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. 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 school, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy school and program 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. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can investigate a PT college’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Contact several Ozark AL physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your school options. It might 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 School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students left because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, 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 Ozark AL area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps excellent. It also verifies that the program has a broad network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the program you select furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that supports 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the physical therapy programs you are evaluating have associations with Ozark AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Ozark health care community and assist with job placement once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are looking at 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 an opportunity to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Ozark AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. 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 might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT colleges offer some form of financial support to their prospective students. Ask if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid department and see what kind of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapist school you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Ozark AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Ozark Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Ozark AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Ozark is the principal city of the Ozark Micropolitan Statistical Area, as well as a part of the Dothan-Enterprise-Ozark Combined Statistical Area. Fort Rucker, the primary flight training base for Army Aviation, abuts Ozark.
The first known European settler in Ozark was John Merrick, Sr., a veteran of the Revolutionary War, in 1822. In honor of him, the town was named Merricks. It was later changed to Woodshop, which was its name when the town received its post office. The first appearance of the name Ozark was in 1855, when the citizens requested a name change.
As of the census of 2000, there were 15,119 people, 6,126 households, and 4,233 families residing in the city. The population density was 441.5 inhabitants per square mile (170.5/km2). There were 6,955 housing units at an average density of 203.1 per square mile (78.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 68.28% White, 28.30% Black or African American, 0.67% Native American, 0.70% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.46% from other races, and 1.53% from two or more races. 2.08% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Enroll in the Right Physical Therapy School near Ozark AL
Deciding on the ideal physical therapy program is a necessary initial decision you need to make to begin a gratifying career in the medical profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you choose should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. But there are other critical questions that you should ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapy school, bear in mind that many variables will guide you to your ultimate decision. You may want to go to different colleges to see their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me reach 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 field so you can make the ideal choice. And with the proper training and education, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Ozark AL.
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