How to Select a Physical Therapist College near Robertsdale 36567
Earning a physical therapist degree near Robertsdale AL is an essential first step to starting a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the appropriate training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate those you are considering to ensure they will furnish a superior education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is enroll in a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be considered besides cost and location. 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 is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists work in varying locations, such as Robertsdale AL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Robertsdale AL health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
There are 3 physical therapist degree options available for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is attainable 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 progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief descriptions of degree levels that are available in the Robertsdale AL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are typically offered by community or junior colleges, and require 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a component of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training to ready candidates to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally take four years to complete and commonly incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated 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). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the total investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an important component along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in a number of 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 licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Colleges Online
While not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the school campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online segment of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Robertsdale AL home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition may be significantly less than comparable on-campus options, and costs for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
At this point you probably have made a decision regarding a few of your preliminary queries, including the kind of physical therapist degree you intend to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are so many PT schools within the Robertsdale AL area and across Alabama, you’ll need to explore other qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Moreover, you want to make sure that you pick the program that is right for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are considering. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are considering have earned 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 select an online school, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can research a PT school’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Contact several Robertsdale AL physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your program options. It might also be prudent 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 Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, 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 Robertsdale AL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or even excellent. It also affirms that the program has a large network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the program you choose furnishes both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapy schools you are assessing have partnerships with Robertsdale AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Robertsdale medical community and help with job placement once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapist school they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Robertsdale AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously 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 may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Most DPT colleges supply some form of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are examining have a financial assistance department and see what type of help is obtainable. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapist program you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Robertsdale AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Robertsdale Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Robertsdale AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Robertsdale is located in southern Baldwin County at 30°33'16.034" North, 87°42'20.038" West (30.554454, -87.705566).U.S. Route 90 (Old Spanish Trail) passes through the city, leading west 24 miles (39 km) to Mobile and east 35 miles (56 km) to Pensacola, Florida.
As of the census of 2010, there were 5,276 people, 1,951 households, and 1,392 families residing in the city. The population density was 968 people per square mile (373.6/km²). There were 1,573 housing units at an average density of 357.3 per square mile (137.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 85.3% White, 5.4% Black or African American, 0.8% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 6.1% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. 9.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 1,951 households out of which 36.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.4% were married couples living together, 14.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.7% were non-families. 23.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.10.
Enroll in the Ideal Physical Therapy Degree Program near Robertsdale AL
Selecting the ideal physical therapist school is a necessary first decision you have to make to launch a gratifying career in the medical profession. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you choose should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. But there are other critical questions that you need to ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapy college, bear in mind that many variables will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You may decide to go to different schools to see their facilities and talk with current 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 adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the proper education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Robertsdale AL.
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