How to Find the Right Physical Therapist School near Columbia 36319
Receiving a physical therapy degree near Columbia AL is a critical first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled due to illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the necessary education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to investigate the ones you are considering to make certain they will supply a quality education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be evaluated along with 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 is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists work in varying settings, such as Columbia AL private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a program of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Columbia AL medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degree Options
There are three physical therapist degree options offered for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief descriptions of degrees that are available in the Columbia AL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically offered by community or junior colleges, and require 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a component of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy training to prep candidates to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they generally require four years to finish and commonly include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want 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 three years to complete, making the total investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an important element in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not only 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 eliminated and is no longer offered in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Programs Online
Although not as prevalent as the more traditional alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Because of 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 school campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Columbia AL residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition can be significantly less than comparable 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 may make the online option the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
By now you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding a few of your initial queries, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you intend to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the Columbia AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll need to research additional qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of college options. Also, you need to be sure that you select the program that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you enroll in an online school, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, 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 might be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are a number of ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, beginning with asking for 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 Columbia AL physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your college options. It might also be prudent to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two relevant statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students left because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Columbia AL area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or even exceptional. It also confirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the school you enroll in furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the physical therapy programs you are assessing have partnerships with Columbia AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to get hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally 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 Columbia healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor 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 perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Columbia AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose 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 commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? The majority of DPT schools provide some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid office and see what kind of help is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. Some physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapist school you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Columbia AL area, verify that they are offered. 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 need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Columbia Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Columbia AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
At the age of 18 Columbia was hired to assist Bill Sienkiewicz in illustrating Alan Moore's ambitious Big Numbers series. When Sienkiewicz withdrew from the series in 1990 after the release of the first two issues, Moore and his backers at Tundra Publishing asked the young Columbia to become its sole artist. In 1992, with no more issues released, Columbia himself left the project under a cloud of rumors and accusations, including claims that he had destroyed his own artwork for Big Numbers #4. Columbia declined to address the subject publicly for several years, writing in a 1998 letter to The Comics Journal that "I could easily launch into a tirade about the extensive horror of my Tundra experience, but I much prefer the very entertaining and conflicting accounts already in circulation." In later statements he confirmed that he destroyed his artwork but disputed other claims by the principal figures in the fiasco.
In a 2011 article reflecting on his Big Numbers experience, Sienkiewicz wrote that he and Columbia had long since reconciled over the matter, and that he was content to "[c]halk the feud up to the folly of youth."
Columbia's first solo comic book, Doghead, was released by Tundra Publishing in 1992. It contains three short stories, two in black and white and one in full color. Paul Gravett described it as "three dark, stylish tales, indebted to Sienkiewicz and McKean but with hints of [Columbia's] emerging singular identity".
Enroll in the Ideal Physical Therapist College near Columbia AL
Selecting the right physical therapist college is an important first decision you must make to begin a gratifying career in the healthcare profession. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you decide on should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are other relevant questions that you need to ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist program, bear in mind that many variables will guide you to your ultimate decision. You might decide to go to each of the campuses to view their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed 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 appropriate selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Columbia AL.
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