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

Daleville Alabama physical therapist working with female patient using balance ballReceiving a physical therapist degree near Daleville AL is an essential first step to starting a fulfilling career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated due to illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the proper training and education. A PT must also become licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it's essential to research those you are thinking about to make sure they will furnish a quality education and satisfy your state's licensing criteria. What you should not do is select a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be considered in addition to cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we'll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.

What Do Physical Therapists Do?

Daleville Alabama physical therapist helping female patient to walk

Physical therapists practice in diverse locations, such as Daleville AL private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Head injuries
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Burn injuries
  • Hip Replacement
  • Sciatica
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Daleville AL medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees Offered

Daleville Alabama physical therapist working with patient in pool

There are three physical therapy degrees available for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is offered that qualifies the graduate to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degrees that are available to prospective students in the Daleville AL area:

  • Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are most often offered by community or junior colleges, and take about two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a component of the course of study.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training to prep students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor's degrees, they normally require four years to finish and often incorporate an internship program of at least 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 complete, making the overall investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential component along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in several states for licensing also.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master's of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer available in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapist Schools Online

Daleville Alabama female student taking physical therapist training onlineWhile not as prevalent as the more traditional alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs available, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature 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 portion of the curriculum can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Daleville AL home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition might be significantly lower than comparable on campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And a number 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 learn at home.

What to Ask Physical Therapy Schools

By now you probably have made a decision concerning several of your preliminary queries, like the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the Daleville AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll have to look into additional qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of school choices. Moreover, you need to make certain that you pick the program that is ideal for you. That's the reason we have compiled a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are considering. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited?  Find out if the schools you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. 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 program, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the College's Ranking? Along with accreditation, it's important that the college and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can look into a PT school's reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Contact a few Daleville AL physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your program options. 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 need to find out about all of the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the help of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Daleville AL area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also affirms that the program has a large network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's important that the school you enroll in furnishes both superior training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the physical therapist colleges you are assessing have relationships with Daleville AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Daleville medical community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program also.

Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Daleville AL residence. Those who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to keep 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 may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often 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 Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT colleges offer some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are considering have a financial assistance department and see what type of aid is available. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance might be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapy school you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Daleville AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Learn More About Daleville Physical Therapy Schools

Choose the Right Daleville Physical Therapist School

Choosing the right physical therapist school is an important initial decision you have to make to begin a gratifying career in the healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you choose should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are other critical questions that you need to ask regarding your school of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist school bear in mind that a number of factors will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You may decide to go to each of the campuses to see their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me reach 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 ideal selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can achieve your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Daleville Alabama.


 

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