Home >> Alabama >> Brook Highland >> Physical Therapy Schools


Get Free Information on Physical Therapy Degree Majors Brook Highland AL 35242

How to Find the Right Physical Therapist College Near Brook Highland Alabama

Brook Highland Alabama physical therapist working with woman using exercise ballReceiving a physical therapist degree near Brook Highland AL is a critical first step to starting a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated as a result of illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the necessary education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it's essential to evaluate those you are considering to make sure they will furnish a superior education and meet your state's licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be evaluated along with location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we'll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.

What is a Physical Therapist?

Brook Highland Alabama physical therapist helping female patient to walk

Physical therapists practice in varying locations, including Brook Highland AL private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Strokes
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Sports injuries
  • Fire injuries
  • Hip Replacement
  • Sciatica
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Brook Highland AL medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to take note of for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees Available

Brook Highland Alabama physical therapist working with patient in pool

There are three physical therapy degrees available for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is attainable that qualifies the graduate to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short explanations of degrees that are offered to prospective students in the Brook Highland AL area:

  • Associate Degrees educate 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 qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically made available by junior or community colleges, and require two 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 therapist education to prep candidates to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor's degrees, they normally take four years to complete and commonly include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are required if you want to become a practicing licensed physical therapist. The degree program must also 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 total investment of time seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential component along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not just 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 available in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapy Online Schools

Brook Highland Alabama woman taking physical therapist training onlineWhile not as common as the more traditional options, there are many accredited online physical therapist programs available, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online part of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Brook Highland AL residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat less than similar on-campus options, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Schools

At this point you probably have come to decision regarding several of your preliminary queries, like the kind of physical therapist degree you intend to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the Brook Highland AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll need to look into additional qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of college choices. Furthermore, you want to make sure that you pick the program that is best for you. That's the reason we have put together a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist programs you are thinking about. Ask each of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As earlier mentioned, 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 may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the College's Reputation? Along with accreditation, it's important that the school and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT school's reputation, beginning 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 also. Call a few Brook Highland AL physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your college 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 filed against the colleges.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapist programs you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students left due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Brook Highland AL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also confirms that the school has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's important that the college you choose furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum 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 therapy program. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the physical therapy schools you are assessing have associations with Brook Highland AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Brook Highland medical community and assist with job placement after licensing.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program also.

Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Brook Highland AL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps 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 typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Support Provided? Most DPT schools provide some type of financial aid to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department and find out what kind of aid is offered. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. Some physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance may be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapy school you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Brook Highland AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.

Learn More About Brook Highland Online Physical Therapist Programs

Choose the Best Brook Highland Physical Therapy School

Choosing the best physical therapy program is an important first decision you need to make to launch a gratifying career in the medical profession. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you decide on should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. But there are other important questions that you need to ask regarding your school of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapy school keep in mind that numerous variables will guide you to your ultimate decision. You may want to go to different schools to see their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Brook Highland Alabama.


 

Brook Highland Physical Therapy Major Programs | Main | Brook Highland Physical Therapist Schools