How to Find the Right Physical Therapy College near Trussville 35173
Getting a physical therapy degree near Trussville AL is an important first step to starting a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled due to injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate those you are considering to make sure they will provide a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is choose a school just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be evaluated along with cost and location. But before we discuss 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 work in a variety of locations, such as Trussville 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 people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Trussville AL medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapy degree options available for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on 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 available in the Trussville AL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or may 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 take about 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally part of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to ready candidates to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they normally take four years to finish and often incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 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 three years to finish, making the overall investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an important component in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in several states for licensing also.
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. A number of practicing physical therapists holding 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 Colleges Online
While not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs offered, more so 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 requires that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online portion of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Trussville AL residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition might be significantly lower than similar on campus options, and costs for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
At this point you most likely have come to decision concerning several of your initial queries, like the type of physical therapy degree you want to attain, where you prefer 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 Trussville AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll need to research additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school options. Also, you want to be sure that you enroll in the program that is ideal for you. That’s why we have collected a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are considering. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Ask if the schools you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As earlier mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online college, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist school and program you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact some Trussville AL physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any advice 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 filed against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two important statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapy colleges you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Trussville AL area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also verifies that the school has a large network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you enroll in provides both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies 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 program. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapist programs you are reviewing have associations with Trussville AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Trussville medical community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Trussville AL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? Most DPT colleges supply some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are considering have a financial assistance office and find out what type of help is obtainable. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapist program you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Trussville AL area, confirm 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 need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Trussville Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Trussville AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Trussville is a city in Jefferson and St. Clair counties in the State of Alabama. It is a suburb of Birmingham and part of the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Statistical Area. Its estimated 2015 population was 21,023.
Trussville has been recognized as one of the most livable cities in the state and country. It was named one of the ten best towns in Alabama for young families, listed among the five best Birmingham suburbs, and included in Money magazine's list of 100 best places to live in America.
The first European settler to establish residence in the area was Warren Truss, who entered the area with his brothers and constructed a grist mill on the Cahaba River in 1821. Truss was a North Carolina man of English descent. Trussville remained an agricultural community until after the Civil War, when the Alabama-Chattanooga Railway was built through the city. By 1886 a blast furnace was built on what is now the site of the new Cahaba Elementary School. Trussville was listed as an incorporated community on the 1890 and 1900 U.S. Census rolls. At some point after 1900 until its reincorporation in 1947, it did not appear on census records.
Choose the Ideal Physical Therapy College near Trussville AL
Deciding on the best physical therapist program is an important first decision you need to make to launch a rewarding career in the healthcare profession. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you enroll in should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. But there are additional important questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist college, bear in mind that numerous variables will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You might want to go to different schools to see their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college 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 right choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Trussville AL.
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