How to Choose a Physical Therapist School near Springville 35146
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Springville AL is an important first step to starting a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated due to illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the proper training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to evaluate the ones you are considering to make certain they will supply a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is select a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant 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 address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in varying settings, including Springville AL private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they develop a course of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Springville AL medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are three physical therapy degrees offered for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the one 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 prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short explanations of degrees that are offered in the Springville AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are usually made available by community colleges, and require 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to prep students to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement 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 normally take four years to finish and commonly include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required in order 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 3 years to finish, making the total commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an important component along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in some states for licensing as well.
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 offered in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current 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 programs offered, even more 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 near the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the program may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Springville AL home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat less than similar on-campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
By now you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding some of your initial queries, like the type of physical therapy degree you want to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the Springville AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll have to look into other qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of school options. Furthermore, you need to make certain that you choose the program that is right for you. That’s why we have put together a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Find out if the programs you are looking at have earned 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 select an online school, it may also receive 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. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Reputation? 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 research a PT school’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call several Springville AL physical therapy clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your program options. It may also be a good idea to check with the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two significant statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest that students left because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Springville 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 exceptional. It also affirms that the program has a large network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you select furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum 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 therapist school. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapy schools you are reviewing have partnerships with Springville AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great 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 an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Springville medical community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Springville AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously 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 decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have 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 live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Most DPT colleges supply some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have a financial aid office and see what type of aid is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapy school you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Springville AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Springville Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Springville AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,521 people, 990 households, and 767 families residing in the town. The population density was 393.8 people per square mile (152.1/km²). There were 1,049 housing units at an average density of 163.8 per square mile (63.3/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 90.56% White, 7.74% Black or African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.28% Asian, 0.16% Pacific Islander, and 1.11% from two or more races. 0.24% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 990 households out of which 34.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.8% were married couples living together, 11.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.5% were non-families. 20.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 2.93.
In the town the population was spread out with 24.9% under the age of 18, 6.9% from 18 to 24, 30.1% from 25 to 44, 26.2% from 45 to 64, and 11.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.5 males.
Pick the Ideal Physical Therapist College near Springville AL
Picking the right physical therapist program is an important initial decision you need to make to launch a gratifying career in the healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you pick should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are other relevant questions that you need to ask regarding your college of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapist school, bear in mind that numerous factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You may decide to visit each of the colleges to view their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me reach 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 field so you can make the right choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Springville AL.
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