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How to Find the Right Physical Therapy Course Near Brewton Alabama

Brewton Alabama physical therapist working with female patient using exercise ballObtaining a physical therapist degree near Brewton AL is an important first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled due to injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it's necessary to investigate those you are looking at to make certain they will supply a superior education and comply with your state's licensing standards. What you should not do is choose a college just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be considered besides cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we'll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.

What Does a Physical Therapist Do?

Brewton Alabama physical therapist helping female patient to walk

Physical therapists practice in diverse locations, such as Brewton AL private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems 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 numerous, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Strokes
  • Heart attacks
  • Sports injuries
  • Burn injuries
  • Knee Replacement
  • Sciatica
  • Multiple Sclerosis

Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Brewton AL health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to take note of for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees

Brewton Alabama DPT working with patient in pool

There are three physical therapist degree options offered for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is offered that qualifies the graduate to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short descriptions of degree levels that are offered to prospective students in the Brewton AL area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically made available by community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a component of the course of study.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to ready students 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 most bachelor's degrees, they normally require four years to complete and commonly incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want to become a practicing licensed 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 finish, making the overall commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an essential component along with the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in some 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 available in the United States. A number of practicing physical therapists having a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapy Colleges Online

Brewton Alabama woman taking physical therapy courses onlineAlthough not as prevalent as the more traditional alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the school campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online part of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Brewton AL home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition may be somewhat less than similar on campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.

Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Schools

By now you most likely have made a decision concerning some of your initial queries, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Brewton AL area and across Alabama, you'll need to look into other qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school choices. Furthermore, you want to make sure that you select the program that is ideal for you. That's the reason we have compiled a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist programs you are considering. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions prior to making a final decision.

Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. 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 choose an online college, it can also earn 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. Also, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the College's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's essential that the college and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT school's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact some Brewton 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 recommendations about your program selections. It might also be prudent 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 College's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist schools you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students left 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 assistance of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Brewton AL area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps excellent. It also confirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the school you enroll in furnishes both exceptional training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internships Provided? Ask if the physical therapy schools you are interested in have associations with Brewton AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional connections in the Brewton health care community and help with job placement once licensed.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapy program as well.

Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapist school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Brewton AL home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to keep 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 typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Help Offered? Most DPT schools provide some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are looking at have a financial assistance office and see what kind of help is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid may be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapy school you ultimately 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 night or weekend classes in the Brewton AL area, check 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 carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.

Find Out More About Brewton Online Physical Therapy Courses

Choose the Right Brewton Physical Therapy School

Deciding on the ideal physical therapist college is an important first decision you must make to start a fulfilling career in the medical field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you enroll in should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. However there are additional important questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapy college keep in mind that a number of variables will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You may want to visit each of the schools to view their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me realize my goal of becoming a licensed practicing 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 ideal choice. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Brewton Alabama.


 

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