Home >> Alabama >> Anniston >> Physical Therapist Schools


Receive Free Info on Physical Therapist Courses Anniston AL 36201

How to Select the Right Physical Therapist Course Near Anniston Alabama

Anniston Alabama physical therapist working with female patient holding exercise ballEarning a physical therapist degree near Anniston AL is an essential first step to starting a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled as a result of illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the proper training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it's essential to investigate those you are looking at to ensure they will provide a quality education and comply with your state's licensing criteria. What you should not do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be evaluated besides 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 the options for education.

What Does a Physical Therapist Do?

Anniston Alabama physical therapist helping woman to walk

Physical therapists practice in varying settings, including Anniston AL private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they create a program of treatment to address the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Strokes
  • Heart attacks
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Burn injuries
  • Knee Replacement
  • Sciatica
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Anniston AL medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degree Options

Anniston Alabama DPT working with patient in pool

There are three physical therapist degree options available for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is offered that qualifies the graduate to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are brief summaries of degree levels that are offered to prospective students in the Anniston AL area:

  • Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as 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 programs are most often provided by junior or community colleges, and require two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a component of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training to prep candidates to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor's degrees, they normally take 4 years to finish and commonly incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are required if you want 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 complete, making the overall commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an important element along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in several states for licensing as well.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master's of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer available in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists having a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapy Degrees Online

Anniston Alabama female student taking physical therapy courses onlineWhile not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapy programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online portion of the course of study can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Anniston AL residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition can be significantly less than comparable on campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Programs

By now you most likely have made a decision regarding a few of your initial questions, including the kind of physical therapy degree you want to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Anniston AL area and across Alabama, you'll need to research additional qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of school options. Furthermore, you want to make certain that you choose the college that is right for you. That's the reason we have collected a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited?  Find out if the colleges you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. 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 program, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapist school and program you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program's Standing? Along with accreditation, it's imperative that the school and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT program's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact a few Anniston AL physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your college selections. It may also be prudent to contact 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 relevant statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist programs you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Anniston AL area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps excellent. It also affirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's important that the program you choose provides both excellent training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapy schools you are evaluating have relationships with Anniston AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Anniston health care community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program also.

Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Anniston AL residence. Those who have decided 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 choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Help Provided? The majority of DPT schools supply some type of financial aid to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial aid department and find out what kind of aid is obtainable. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance might be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapy school you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Anniston AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative 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 because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Learn More About Anniston Physical Therapist Degrees

Choose the Right Anniston Physical Therapist School

Selecting the right physical therapy school is a necessary first decision you need to make to start a rewarding career in the medical profession. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you pick should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. But there are other relevant questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist college keep in mind that a number of factors will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You may want to visit different campuses to see their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me achieve my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Anniston Alabama.


 

Anniston Physical Therapy Schools | Main | Anniston Physical Therapy Degrees