Home >> Alabama >> Attalla >> Physical Therapist Schools


Get Free Info on Physical Therapist Colleges Attalla AL 35954

How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapy Training Program Near Attalla Alabama

Attalla Alabama physical therapist working with female patient using balance ballGetting a physical therapist degree near Attalla AL is an important first step to starting a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the necessary training and education. A PT must also become licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it's important to research those you are thinking about to make certain they will supply a quality education and comply with your state's licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be evaluated besides cost and location. But before we cover 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 Do Physical Therapists Do?

Attalla Alabama physical therapist assisting female patient to walk

Physical therapists practice in a variety of settings, including Attalla AL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of 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 develop a course of treatment to address the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Strokes
  • Heart attacks
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Fire injuries
  • Hip Replacement
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Attalla AL medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees Available

Attalla Alabama DPT working with man in pool

There are 3 physical therapist degree options available for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is available that qualifies the graduate 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 brief descriptions of degrees that are available to prospective students in the Attalla AL area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically offered by community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually part of the course of study.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist education to prep candidates 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 becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor's degrees, they typically take 4 years to complete and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are a requirement in order to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program also must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). In addition to the bachelor's degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the overall commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential component along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not just for graduation but in a number of states for licensing also.

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 attainable 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 instituted.

Physical Therapy Colleges Online

Attalla Alabama female student taking physical therapy classes onlineWhile not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapy programs available, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online portion of the curriculum can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Attalla AL home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat lower than comparable on campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.

What to Ask Physical Therapist Programs

By now you most likely have made a decision regarding some of your preliminary questions, like the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are so many PT schools within the Attalla AL area and across Alabama, you'll need to look into other qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of school options. Moreover, you need to make sure that you choose the school that is best for you. That's why we have put together a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions before making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As earlier 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 select an online school, it may also earn 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. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the School's Ranking? Along with accreditation, it's essential that the college and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT school's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call some Attalla AL physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your program options. It may 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 Program's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of important statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapy schools you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After 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 Attalla AL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or even excellent. It also verifies that the college has a wide network of contacts to help students get internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the college you choose provides both superior training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria 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) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapy programs you are assessing have relationships with Attalla AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Attalla medical community and help with job placement once licensed.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program also.

Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy school they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Attalla AL residence. Those who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern 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 even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT colleges offer some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are considering have a financial aid department and see what kind of aid is available. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid might be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist college you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Attalla AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.

Find Out More About Attalla Online Physical Therapy Training

Choose the Best Attalla Physical Therapist School

Deciding on the right physical therapist program is an important first decision you must make to start a gratifying career in the medical field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you enroll in should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are additional relevant questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapist program keep in mind that a number of variables will lead you toward your final decision. You may decide to visit each of the campuses to view their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me realize 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 best choice. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Attalla Alabama.


 

Attalla Physical Therapy Schools | Main | Attalla Physical Therapy Degrees