Home >> Alabama >> Bessemer >> Physical Therapy Major Programs


Request Free Info on Physical Therapist Programs Bessemer AL 35020

How to Find the Right Physical Therapy Course Near Bessemer Alabama

Bessemer Alabama physical therapist working with female patient using balance ballReceiving a physical therapy degree near Bessemer AL is an important first step to launching a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled due to injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it's essential to evaluate those you are thinking about to make certain they will deliver a superior education and satisfy your state's licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be evaluated besides 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 the options for education.

What is a Physical Therapist?

Bessemer Alabama physical therapist helping woman to walk

Physical therapists work in varying locations, such as Bessemer AL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Head injuries
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Sports injuries
  • Burn injuries
  • Hip Replacement
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Bessemer AL medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. 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 thinking about getting into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees

Bessemer Alabama DPT working with patient in pool

There are three physical therapy degree options available for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the one degree that is offered 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 short descriptions of degrees that are available to prospective students in the Bessemer AL area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are usually offered by community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a component of the course of study.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to ready students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor's degrees, they normally take four years to finish 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 must also be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). After earning the bachelor's degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to finish, making the overall investment of time 7 years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal element in addition to the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not solely 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 eliminated and is no longer offered in the USA. A number of practicing physical therapists having a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapist Schools Online

Bessemer Alabama female student taking physical therapy training onlineAlthough not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online part of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Bessemer AL home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition might be somewhat less than similar on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.

Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Schools

By now you probably have made a decision regarding some of your initial questions, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Bessemer AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll have to research other qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school options. Moreover, you need to make certain that you choose the program that is right for you. That's the reason we have collected a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited?  Ask if the programs you are considering have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As earlier stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate 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 imperative that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the School's Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it's important that the college and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT program's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Contact several Bessemer AL physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your program selections. 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 schools.

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 programs you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Bessemer AL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even outstanding. It also verifies that the college has a large network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the college you enroll in furnishes both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is needed 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, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapy schools you are assessing have relationships with Bessemer AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Bessemer health care community and assist with job placement after licensing.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing 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 final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program as well.

Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Bessemer AL home. Students who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might 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 for those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Aid Provided? The majority of DPT colleges offer some type of financial aid to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid office and see what type of aid is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance may be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapy program you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Bessemer AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.

Learn More About Bessemer Online Physical Therapy Colleges

Enroll in the Right Bessemer Physical Therapist School

Selecting the best physical therapy program is a necessary first decision you must make to begin a fulfilling career in the healthcare profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you pick should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are other important questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapist school bear in mind that many factors will lead you toward your final decision. You might want to go to each of the schools to view their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me reach my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the best selection. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Bessemer Alabama.


 

Bessemer Physical Therapist Degrees | Main | Bessemer Physical Therapy Schools