Home >> Alabama >> Attalla >> Physical Therapy Degrees


Get Free Info on Physical Therapy Schools Attalla AL 35954

How to Choose the Right Physical Therapist Program Near Attalla Alabama

Attalla Alabama physical therapist working with woman holding balance ballGetting a physical therapy degree near Attalla AL is a critical first step to launching a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated as a result of illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the necessary training and education. A PT must also become licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it's essential to research the ones you are looking at to ensure they will provide a quality education and comply with your state's licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is select a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be considered in addition to 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 the options for education.

What Does a Physical Therapist Do?

Attalla Alabama DPT assisting female patient to walk

Physical therapists work in a variety of locations, including Attalla AL private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they create a program of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also strive to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Strokes
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Burn injuries
  • Knee Replacement
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Attalla AL health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees Available

Attalla Alabama DPT working with patient in pool

There are 3 physical therapist degree options available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the one degree that is attainable that qualifies the graduate to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are brief explanations of degrees that are available to prospective students in the Attalla AL area:

  • Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are typically provided by community colleges, and take about two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a component of the course of study.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training to ready students 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. As with most bachelor's degrees, they normally take 4 years to finish and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 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). 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. Practical or clinical training is an essential element along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not solely 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 attainable in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapist Online Schools

Attalla Alabama woman taking physical therapist classes onlineAlthough not as prevalent as the more traditional alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapy degrees 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 necessitates that the student live near the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online part of the course of study can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Attalla AL home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat lower than comparable on campus options, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Schools

By now you most likely have made a decision concerning several of your initial questions, like the type of physical therapist degree you would like to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Attalla AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll need to research additional qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college options. Also, you want to be sure that you select the school that is ideal for you. That's why we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited?  Ask if the colleges you are considering have received 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 select an online college, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the School's Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it's essential that the school and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT school's reputation, beginning 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. Contact several Attalla AL physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your school selections. It may also be a good idea to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? There are a two important statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist colleges you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may 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 assistance of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Attalla AL area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps excellent. It also confirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It's important that the school you select furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria 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) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapy schools you are assessing have partnerships with Attalla AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students develop professional connections in the Attalla medical community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program as well.

Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Attalla AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Help Provided? Most DPT schools provide some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are examining have a financial aid office and find out what kind of help is offered. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid may be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapy program you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Attalla AL area, make certain 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 have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.

Learn More About Attalla Online Physical Therapy Training

Enroll in the Right Attalla Physical Therapist School

Choosing the right physical therapist school is an important initial decision you need to make to begin a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you decide on should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. However there are other relevant questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapy school keep in mind that many factors will lead you to your final decision. You may want to go to different schools to see their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following 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 of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Attalla Alabama.


 

Attalla Physical Therapist Schools | Main | Attalla Physical Therapist Degrees