How to Find the Right Physical Therapy Course Near Daleville Alabama
Earning a physical therapy degree near Daleville AL is a critical first step to beginning a rewarding career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled as a result of illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the necessary training and education. A PT must also become licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it's necessary to evaluate those you are considering to ensure they will provide a quality education and satisfy your state's licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is choose a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be considered along with cost and location. 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's Job Description?
Physical therapists work in varying locations, including Daleville 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 earlier stated, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a course of treatment to address the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also strive to stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries
- Cardiac arrest
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Fire injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Daleville 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. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapist degrees available for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is offered that qualifies the graduate to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief explanations of degree levels that are available to prospective students in the Daleville AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are typically provided by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a component of the program.
- Bachelor's Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to prep candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor's degrees, they typically require four years to finish and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required in order 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 complete, making the overall commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an intregal component along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not only 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 attainable in the USA. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Schools Online
Although not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapy programs available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online segment of the program may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Daleville AL home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition can be somewhat lower than comparable on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. 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 dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
By now you probably have made a decision concerning a few of your preliminary questions, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you want to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are so many PT colleges within the Daleville AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll have to research other qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of school options. Also, you want to be sure that you select the college that is ideal for you. That's the reason we have collected a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. 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 select an online college, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapist program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the School's Reputation? Along with accreditation, it's imperative that the school and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT program's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact several Daleville AL physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your college selections. It may also be prudent to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the Program's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist schools you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the assistance of the college'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 health care community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also verifies that the program has a broad network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the college you select furnishes both exceptional 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 school. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the physical therapy schools you are evaluating 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 setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Daleville health care community and help with job placement once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program also.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Daleville 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 importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? Most DPT colleges supply some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid office and find out what kind of aid is available. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapy school you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to 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, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Daleville Physical Therapy School
Deciding on the right physical therapy program is a necessary initial decision you need to make to launch a gratifying career in the medical profession. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you decide on should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are additional important questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapy school keep in mind that many factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might decide to go to each of the schools to see their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me realize my goal of becoming a licensed practicing 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 proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Daleville Alabama.