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How to Find the Right Physical Therapy Training Program Near Brewton Alabama

Brewton Alabama physical therapist working with female patient using balance ballEarning a physical therapist degree near Brewton AL is an important first step to launching a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled due to illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the proper education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it's necessary to evaluate the ones you are considering to make sure they will supply a quality education and comply with your state's licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is select a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be evaluated along with cost and location. But before we cover what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we'll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.

What Does a Physical Therapist Do?

Brewton Alabama DPT helping female patient to walk

Physical therapists practice in diverse locations, including Brewton AL hospitals, health clinics, 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 experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Head injuries
  • Heart attacks
  • Sports injuries
  • Fire injuries
  • Knee Replacement
  • Sciatica
  • Multiple Sclerosis

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

Physical Therapy Degrees Available

Brewton Alabama physical therapist working with patient in pool

There are 3 physical therapy degree options offered for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is available that qualifies the graduate to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degrees that are available to prospective students in the Brewton 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 obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically offered by community or junior colleges, and require two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a component of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy training to prep candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor's degrees, they generally require four years to complete and often incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 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). After earning the bachelor's degree, the doctoral takes three years to finish, making the total commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal component along with the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in some 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 offered in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapy Online Schools

Brewton Alabama female student taking physical therapist courses onlineAlthough not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Brewton AL home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition might be significantly lower than similar on-campus options, and costs for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Schools

By now you most likely have come to decision concerning several of your preliminary questions, including the kind of physical therapist degree you want to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the Brewton AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll need to explore additional qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of school choices. Furthermore, you need to make certain that you pick the school that is right for you. That's the reason we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges 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 programs you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online program, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapy school and program you select are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the School's Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it's important 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 college's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with a few Brewton AL physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your program options. It might also be prudent to check with the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? There are a two important statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Brewton 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 broad network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment after graduation.

Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It's important that the program you enroll in furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements 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 therapy program. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internships Provided? Ask if the physical therapy schools you are assessing have partnerships with Brewton AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Brewton health care community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapy program also.

Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy school they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Brewton AL residence. Students who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose 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 typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Most DPT colleges provide some type of financial support to their prospective students. Ask if the schools you are considering have a financial aid office and find out what type of help is available. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance may be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapist college you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Brewton AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.

Learn More About Brewton Physical Therapy Colleges

Choose the Right Brewton Physical Therapy School

Picking the best physical therapy college is a necessary first decision you must make to begin a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you pick should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are additional important questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapist college bear in mind that a number of variables will lead you toward your final decision. You may decide to visit each of the schools to view their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Brewton Alabama.


 

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