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How to Find the Right Physical Therapist Training Program Near Daphne Alabama

Daphne Alabama physical therapist working with female patient holding balance ballGetting a physical therapy degree near Daphne AL is an essential first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled as a result of illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the appropriate training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it's important to investigate those you are thinking about to make certain they will supply a quality education and meet your state's licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is enroll in a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be considered besides cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we'll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.

What is a Physical Therapist's Job Description?

Daphne Alabama DPT assisting female patient to walk

Physical therapists practice in varying locations, such as Daphne AL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also strive to stop any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Head injuries
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Sports injuries
  • Fire injuries
  • Hip Replacement
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Daphne AL medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees Available

Daphne Alabama physical therapist working with man in pool

There are three physical therapy degrees offered for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is available that qualifies the graduate to become 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. Following are brief explanations of degrees that are offered to prospective students in the Daphne AL area:

  • Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically made available by junior or community colleges, and take about two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually part of the program.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to prepare candidates to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor's degrees, they typically take 4 years to finish and often include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are required 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 three years to complete, making the overall investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal component in addition to the substantial 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 practicing physical therapists holding a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapist Online Schools

Daphne Alabama woman taking physical therapy training onlineAlthough not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, 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 a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Daphne AL home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition might be significantly lower than similar on campus options, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.

Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Programs

At this point you probably have come to decision regarding several of your preliminary questions, such as the type of physical therapy degree you would like 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 schools within the Daphne AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll have to explore additional qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Furthermore, you need to make certain that you select the program that is right for you. That's why we have put together a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited?  Ask if the schools you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you enroll in an online college, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapy school and program you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the College's Reputation? Along with accreditation, it's essential that the college and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT program's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call several Daphne AL physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your school options. It may also be prudent to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the School's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist schools you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might mean that students left because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Daphne AL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps excellent. It also affirms that the college has a large network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the school you choose provides both exceptional training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the physical therapist colleges you are interested in have partnerships with Daphne AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Daphne healthcare community and help with job placement once licensed.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk 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 a number of students, the physical therapist school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Daphne AL home. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Aid Offered? The majority of DPT colleges provide some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial aid office and see what type of aid is offered. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance might be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist college you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Daphne AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.

Find Out More About Daphne Online Physical Therapist Programs

Enroll in the Best Daphne Physical Therapy School

Choosing the ideal physical therapy program is a necessary first decision you need to make to launch a gratifying career in the health care profession. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you decide on should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are additional critical questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapy program keep in mind that many variables will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You may decide to go to different colleges to see their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me realize my goal of becoming a licensed practicing 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 choice. And with the proper education and training, you can accomplish your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Daphne Alabama.


 

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