How to Enroll In a Physical Therapy Degree Program near Spanish Fort 36527
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Spanish Fort AL is a critical first step to launching a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated as a result of injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research the ones you are thinking about to make certain they will deliver a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is select 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 need to be evaluated along with cost and location. But before we talk about 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 Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists practice in diverse locations, including Spanish Fort 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 earlier touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they design a course of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Spanish Fort AL health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in 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 patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapist degrees offered for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degree levels that are available in the Spanish Fort AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are most often offered 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 a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy education to prepare candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally take 4 years to complete and usually include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated 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). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to complete, making the total commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal component along with the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not solely 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 phased out 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 prior to the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Degrees Online
While not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapist degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online part of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Spanish Fort AL residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition can be somewhat lower than comparable on-campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
By now you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning some of your preliminary questions, including the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Spanish Fort AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll need to research other qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of school choices. Also, you want to make certain that you pick the school that is best for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Ask if the schools you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier stated, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you enroll in an online school, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT college’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact several Spanish Fort AL physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your program selections. 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 relevant statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapy schools you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction 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 Spanish Fort AL area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even exceptional. It also verifies that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students get internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the school you enroll in furnishes both superior training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the physical therapy colleges you are evaluating have partnerships with Spanish Fort AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Spanish Fort health care community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Spanish Fort AL home. Students who have chosen 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 consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program 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 commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? The majority of DPT schools offer some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and see what kind of aid is available. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapist college you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Spanish Fort AL area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative 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 illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Spanish Fort Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Spanish Fort AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Spanish Fort, Alabama
Spanish Fort is a city in Baldwin County, Alabama, United States, located on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay. The 2010 census lists the population of the city as 6,798. It is a suburb of Mobile and is part of the Daphne-Fairhope-Foley micropolitan area.
In November 2012, Spanish Fort built a community center to house its administrative offices and city amenities. The center is home to the city library, administrative offices, the office of the mayor, and other city-run services. The municipal complex is roughly 30,000 square feet and cost around $5 million to build. It sits on 17-acres of prime land and features a large pond with two fountains and a pavilion. The city also hosts community outreach events along with city council and budget meetings.
Spanish Fort is located at 30°40'7.403" North, 87°55'19.844" West (30.668723, -87.922179), above the east shore of the Blakeley River where it enters Mobile Bay. U.S. Routes 90 and 98 (Battleship Parkway) lead west across the Mobile River and its distributaries 9 miles (14 km) to Mobile. Interstate 10 passes just to the south of Spanish Fort, with access from exits 35 and 38, and leads west across Mobile Bay to Mobile as well.
Enroll in the Right Physical Therapy School near Spanish Fort AL
Deciding on the right physical therapy program is an important first decision you have to make to launch a gratifying career in the medical field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you enroll in should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are other relevant questions that you need to ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapist program, bear in mind that numerous variables will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You might decide to visit different campuses to view their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me realize my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the ideal choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can achieve your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Spanish Fort AL.
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