How to Pick a Physical Therapy Training Program near Phenix City 36867
Earning a physical therapy degree near Phenix City AL is a critical first step to beginning a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated due to injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the appropriate education and training. A PT must also be licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate the ones you are looking at to ensure they will furnish a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is select a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be considered along with cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in varying settings, including Phenix City AL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a program of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Phenix City AL health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are three physical therapist degrees available for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief summaries of degree levels that are available in the Phenix City 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 programs are typically provided by junior or community colleges, and take about two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically part of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training to prepare candidates to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally take 4 years to complete and often incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement in order to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program must also be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to complete, making the total commitment seven years in most cases. Clinical training is an intregal component along with the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion 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 eliminated and is no longer available in the USA. A number of practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Online Degrees
Although not as common as the on-campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to 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 a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Phenix City AL home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition might be significantly less than comparable on campus options, and costs for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
At this point you probably have made a decision regarding several of your preliminary queries, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Phenix City AL area and across Alabama, you’ll need to look into other qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of school choices. Moreover, you want to make certain that you select the college that is best for you. That’s why we have collected a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are thinking about. Ask each of the competing schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Ask if the programs you are reviewing have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. 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 enroll in an online school, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Call several Phenix City AL physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your college options. It may also be a good idea to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two significant statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapy colleges you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Phenix City AL area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also verifies that the college has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you enroll in furnishes both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria 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) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the physical therapy programs you are interested in have relationships with Phenix City AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Phenix City health care community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are looking at 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 ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Phenix City AL home. Those who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you choose 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 usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Most DPT schools supply some form of financial aid to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department and find out what kind of assistance is offered. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. Some physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapy school you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Phenix City AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Phenix City Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Phenix City AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Phenix City, Alabama
Phenix City lies immediately west across the Chattahoochee River from much larger Columbus, Georgia. Sometimes called Hub City, Most of Phenix City is included in the Columbus Metropolitan Statistical Area, but a section is located in Lee County, and is therefore in the Auburn, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. The entire city is part of the Columbus-Auburn-Opelika Combined Statistical Area.
Phenix City is located at 32°28′22″N 85°1′12″W / 32.47278°N 85.02000°W / 32.47278; -85.02000 (32.472822, -85.020121). It is the easternmost settlement in the state of Alabama as well as the Central Time Zone, but it and some other nearby areas unofficially observe Eastern Time, as these areas are part of the metropolitan area of the considerably larger city of Columbus, Georgia, which is in the Eastern Time Zone.
The climate in this area is characterized by relatively high temperatures and evenly distributed precipitation throughout the year. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Phenix City has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
Choose the Best Physical Therapist Training Program near Phenix City AL
Deciding on the right physical therapist college is an important first decision you need to make to start a gratifying career in the healthcare profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you select should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are additional critical questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapy school, bear in mind that many variables will lead you toward your final decision. You might decide to go to each of the colleges to view their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program 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 options so you can make the right choice. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Phenix City AL.
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