How to Find the Right Physical Therapist Degree Program near Union Springs 36089
Getting a physical therapist degree near Union Springs AL is an important first step to launching a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated due to injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the proper education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate the ones you are looking at to make certain they will provide a quality education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is select a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be considered besides location and cost. 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 is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists practice in varying locations, such as Union Springs AL private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a course of treatment to address the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Union Springs AL medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are three physical therapy degree options available for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief descriptions of degrees that are available in the Union Springs AL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are most often provided by community or junior colleges, and require 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to prepare students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically take 4 years to complete and often include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to finish, making the total commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an important element in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not just 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 United States. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Colleges Online
While not as prevalent as the more traditional options, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Union Springs AL residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat lower than similar on-campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
At this point you probably have come to decision concerning some of your initial questions, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you intend to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Union Springs AL area and across Alabama, you’ll have to research additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school choices. Moreover, you want to make sure that you enroll in the program that is best for you. That’s the reason we have compiled 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 prior to making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Find out if the programs you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. 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 choose an online program, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT college’s reputation, starting 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 agencies for their reviews also. Call some Union Springs AL physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your college selections. It might 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 colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two significant statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist colleges you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Union Springs AL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even outstanding. It also verifies that the school has a broad network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the college you choose provides both superior training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the physical therapy programs you are assessing have associations with Union Springs AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Union Springs medical community and help with job placement after licensing.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Union Springs AL residence. Those who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? The majority of DPT colleges supply some type of financial aid to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are examining have a financial aid office and find out what kind of aid is obtainable. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. Some physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapy program you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Union Springs AL area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Union Springs Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Union Springs AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Union Springs, Alabama
The area that became Union Springs was first settled by white men after the Creek Indian removal of the 1830s. Twenty-seven springs watered the land, giving rise to the name of Union Springs. The city was incorporated on January 13, 1844. When Bullock County was formed in 1866, voters selected Union Springs as the county seat.
Union Springs is located in southeastern Alabama near the center of Bullock County at 32°8'24.407" North, 85°42'46.094" West (32.140113, -85.712804). The source of the Conecuh River is within the city limits.
The city is located at the intersection of U.S. Route 82 and U.S. Route 29. Route 82 leads east 40 miles (64 km) to Eufaula and northwest 46 miles (74 km) to Montgomery, the state capital. Route 29 leads north 23 miles (37 km) to Tuskegee and southwest 40 miles (64 km) to Troy.
Enroll in the Right Physical Therapist Degree Program near Union Springs AL
Deciding on the best physical therapist program is a necessary first decision you need to make to begin a fulfilling career in the health care field. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you choose should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are other important questions that you should ask concerning your school of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapy program, keep in mind that numerous variables will guide you to your final decision. You may decide to go to different colleges to see their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the right choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Union Springs AL.
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