How to Select a Physical Therapy Training Program near Prattville 36066
Getting a physical therapy degree near Prattville AL is a critical first step to launching a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled due to illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the necessary training and education. A PT must also become licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate the ones you are considering to make sure they will furnish a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is enroll in a college just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be evaluated along with location and cost. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in diverse locations, such as Prattville AL private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Prattville AL medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is quite 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 Therapist Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapy degrees offered for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short explanations of degrees that are offered in the Prattville AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are most often provided by community or junior colleges, and take about two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist education to prepare candidates to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take four years to complete and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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 three years to finish, making the total commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal component along with the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not only 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 offered in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Degrees
While not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online part of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Prattville AL home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat less than comparable on campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
At this point you probably have come to decision concerning several of your preliminary queries, including the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Prattville AL area and across Alabama, you’ll have to explore additional qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of college options. Moreover, you want to be sure that you enroll in the school that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Ask if the schools you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously stated, 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 college, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact some Prattville 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 recommendations about your college options. 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 colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two significant statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapy schools you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Prattville AL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or even outstanding. It also verifies that the program has a broad network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you select provides both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements 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) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are interested in have partnerships with Prattville AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Prattville medical community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Prattville AL residence. Those who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Support Offered? Most DPT schools provide some form of financial aid to their potential students. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance department and see what kind of aid is offered. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapy college you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Prattville AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Prattville Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Prattville AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Prattville is a city in Autauga and Elmore counties in the State of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 33,960. Nicknamed "The Fountain City" due to the many artesian wells in the area, Prattville is part of the Montgomery metropolitan statistical area and serves as the county seat of Autauga County.
Prattville was founded in 1839 by industrialist and architect Daniel Pratt. The area was largely inhabited by Native Americans and a few settlers when Pratt, a native of Temple, New Hampshire, first observed the Autauga Creek in the 1830s. He purchased approximately 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) from Joseph May at $21.00 an acre, and set out to build his manufacturing facilities and the town along the banks of Autauga Creek. The location was chosen because the creek could supply power to the cotton gin manufacturing equipment. The town became an industrial center and rapidly grew. In 1868, it was named the county seat for Autauga County.
On February 17, 2008, Prattville was hit by an F3 tornado which destroyed more than 45 homes and businesses and damaged over 700. Twenty-nine people were injured with no fatalities. Preliminary estimates put the damage at $85 million in insured and uninsured damages.
Choose the Right Physical Therapist School near Prattville AL
Deciding on the right physical therapy program is an important first decision you have to make to start a rewarding career in the healthcare profession. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you choose should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. But there are other relevant questions that you need to ask regarding your school of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapist college, keep in mind that numerous variables will lead you to your final decision. You might decide to visit different schools to view their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me accomplish 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 best selection. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Prattville AL.
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