How to Pick a Physical Therapy Degree Program near Summerdale 36580
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Summerdale AL is an essential first step to starting a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated due to injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the necessary training and education. A PT must also be licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research the ones you are looking at to make sure they will supply a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is select a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be evaluated besides location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists practice in varying settings, such as Summerdale 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 earlier mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they develop a program of treatment to address the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Summerdale AL health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapy degree options offered for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short explanations of degree levels that are offered in the Summerdale AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often provided by community or junior colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy education to prep students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take 4 years to complete and usually incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required if you want to become a practicing licensed 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 3 years to complete, making the overall commitment seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal component along with the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not just for graduation but in several 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 phased out and is no longer offered in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Schools Online
While not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs available, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online part of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Summerdale AL residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition may be significantly less than similar on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
By now you most likely have made a decision concerning several of your preliminary questions, like the kind of physical therapy degree you want to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the Summerdale AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll have to research other qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Also, you need to make certain that you select the school that is best for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously 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 choose an online college, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with a few Summerdale AL physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your school selections. It may also be a good idea to check with the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students left due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Summerdale AL area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even outstanding. It also verifies that the college has a broad network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the school you select provides both superior 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 required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the physical therapist schools you are reviewing have partnerships with Summerdale AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Summerdale health care community and help with job placement once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor 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 perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Summerdale AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide 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 often charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? The majority of DPT schools offer some type of financial aid to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance department and see what kind of assistance is available. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapist school you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Summerdale AL area, make certain 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 have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Summerdale Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Summerdale AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Summerdale is a rural town in south-central Baldwin County, Alabama, United States. It is the site of the Naval Outlying Field Summerdale. At the 2010 census the population was 862. It is part of the Daphne–Fairhope–Foley Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Summerdale is located at 30°29'15.468" North, 87°42'4.036" West (30.487630, -87.701121).Alabama State Route 59 passes along the west side of the town, leading north 5 miles (8 km) to Robertsdale and south 6 miles (10 km) to Foley.
As of the census of 2000, there were 655 people, 255 households, and 184 families residing in the town. The population density was 125.7 people per square mile (48.5/km²). There were 282 housing units at an average density of 54.1 per square mile (20.9/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 90.23% White, 4.89% Black or African American, 1.07% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.92% from other races, and 2.75% from two or more races. Nearly 2.29% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Select the Ideal Physical Therapy Training Program near Summerdale AL
Choosing the right physical therapist program is a necessary initial decision you must make to start a fulfilling career in the health care field. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you pick should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are other relevant questions that you need to ask pertaining to your school of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapy program, keep in mind that numerous factors will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You may decide to go to different schools to see their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing 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 selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Summerdale AL.
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