How to Select a Physical Therapy Program near Pell City 35125
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Pell City AL is an essential first step to launching a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients 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 get the proper training and education. A PT must also become licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to research those you are thinking about to make sure they will furnish a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated along with cost and location. But before we discuss 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 settings, including Pell City AL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to address the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also strive to stop any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Pell City AL medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Offered
There are three physical therapy degrees offered for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is available 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 progress to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degrees that are available in the Pell City AL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually provided by junior or community colleges, and require two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to ready candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take four years to complete and commonly include an internship program of a minimum of 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 overall investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical training is an intregal element along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not only 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 available in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Online Colleges
Although not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy programs available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the curriculum can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Pell City AL residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat lower than similar 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 advantages can make the online option the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
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 want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Pell City AL area and across Alabama, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school options. Furthermore, you need to make certain that you enroll in the school that is best for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. 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 choose an online school, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, starting 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. Get in touch with a few Pell City AL physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your college options. It might also be a good idea to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of important statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Pell City AL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also affirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college 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 required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements fluctuate 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 additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapy programs you are interested in have partnerships with Pell City AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Pell City healthcare community and assist with job placement once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools 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 decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Pell City AL residence. Students who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Support Provided? Most DPT schools offer some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Find out if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid office and find out what type of assistance is available. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. Some physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapy college you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Pell City AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Pell City Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Pell City AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Pell City, Alabama
Pell City is a city in St. Clair County, Alabama, United States. The city is the county seat of St. Clair County along with Ashville. At the 2000 census the population was 9,565. At the 2010 census, the city-limit population jumped to 12,695.
Pell City was founded in 1890 by railroad investors and named after George Pell of the Pell City Iron and Land Company, one of its financial backers. The city was incorporated on May 6, 1891, but nearly failed during the Panic of 1893. However, it was revived in 1902 when Sumter Cogswell built the Pell City Manufacturing Company, which subsequently became Avondale Mills, a major landmark of the town until Thunder Enterprises, a Tennessee company, bought the building and began dismantling the factory in 2008. However, on February 14, 2008 a fire started at the mill. The fire was so large it could be seen from the Chula Vista/ Springville exit on Interstate 20 (I20). It was a sad ending for the factory. However, the smokestack and water tower still stood. The mill was the economic and social center of the town during its development and early growth. Besides the textile mill, other economic endeavors included agriculture and mercantile establishments. Large cotton, soybean, and cattle farms were located in the area. Pell City increased its size in 1956 when the nearby towns of Eden and Oak Ridge were merged with the city. The first mayor was Green Evans.
The residences of Sumter Cogswell and Green Evans (Pell City’s first mayor) are two of the earliest structures, dating from the late nineteenth century. The majority of the historic structures date from 1902 to 1905.
Choose the Best Physical Therapist Training Program near Pell City AL
Selecting the right physical therapy college is a necessary first decision you have to make to start a rewarding career in the health care field. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you enroll in should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are other critical questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapy college, bear in mind that numerous variables will lead you to your ultimate decision. You may decide to visit different campuses to see their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the best choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Pell City AL.
A Few More Interesting Locations in Alabama