How to Choose a Physical Therapist School near Wetumpka 36092
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Wetumpka AL is a critical first step to beginning a rewarding career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated due to illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the proper education and training. A PT must also become licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to evaluate those you are looking at to make certain they will furnish a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be considered in addition to cost and location. But before we cover what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists work in diverse locations, such as Wetumpka AL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a program of treatment to address the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Wetumpka AL health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone considering entering the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Offered
There are three physical therapist degrees offered for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief descriptions of degree levels that are available in the Wetumpka 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 earned a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually offered by community colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to prep candidates to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally require four years to complete and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 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 three years to complete, making the overall investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential component along with the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in a number of 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 in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Colleges Online
While not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs available, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online part of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Wetumpka AL residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat less than comparable on campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
By now you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding several of your initial queries, including the kind of physical therapy degree you want to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the Wetumpka AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll need to explore other qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of school options. Moreover, you need to be sure that you pick the school that is best for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Ask if the programs you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously 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 choose an online school, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call a few Wetumpka AL physical therapy centers or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your college selections. It might also be prudent to check with the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two significant statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students left due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Wetumpka AL area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even excellent. It also verifies that the college has a broad network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you enroll in furnishes both superior training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements 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 program. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapy schools you are evaluating have associations with Wetumpka AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Wetumpka medical community and assist with job placement after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. 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 a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Wetumpka AL home. Those who have opted 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 importance. One thing 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 may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? Most DPT colleges provide some form of financial support to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and find out what type of aid is available. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapist school you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Wetumpka AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours 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 emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Wetumpka Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Wetumpka AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Wetumpka is a city in and the county seat of Elmore County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 6,528. In the early 21st century, Elmore County, long a rural area, became one of the fastest-growing counties in the state. The city is considered part of the Montgomery Metropolitan Area.
Wetumpka identifies as "The City of Natural Beauty". Among the notable landmarks are the Wetumpka crater and the Jasmine Hill Gardens, with a full-sized replica of the Temple of Hera of Olympia, Greece. Historic downtown Wetumpka developed on both sides of the Coosa River. It was near Fort Toulouse, built by French colonists in 1717, when they had claimed this territory for the king.
The word Wetumpka is derived from the Muscogee language (Creek) phrase we-wau tum-cau. The name Wetumpka is a historic Creek place word meaning "rumbling waters", believed to be a description of the sound of the nearby Coosa River at the rapids of the Devil's Staircase. The roar of the rapids reportedly could be heard for miles before the construction in the 20th century of Walter Bouldin Dam and Jordan Dam, when the river was captured as a reservoir behind the dam.
Select the Best Physical Therapist School near Wetumpka AL
Selecting the ideal physical therapy school is an important initial 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 select should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. But there are other critical questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist school, bear in mind that many variables will guide you to your ultimate decision. You might want to visit different schools to view their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Wetumpka AL.
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