How to Find the Right Physical Therapist Course Near Dixiana Alabama
Obtaining a physical therapy degree near Dixiana AL is an essential first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled due to injury or illness regain 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 mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it's important to investigate the ones you are considering to ensure they will furnish a quality education and meet your state's licensing standards. What you should not do is enroll in a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be evaluated 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 the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist's Job Description?
Physical therapists work in varying settings, such as Dixiana 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 previously touched on, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Fire injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Dixiana AL health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Offered
There are 3 physical therapist degree options available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is attainable 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 prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short summaries of degree levels that are offered to prospective students in the Dixiana AL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often provided by junior or community colleges, and take about two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically a component of the program.
- Bachelor's Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy training to prep students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor's degrees, they typically take 4 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 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 total investment of time seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential element in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in several states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has taken the place of the Master's of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer attainable in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Colleges
Although not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the course of study can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Dixiana AL home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition can be significantly less 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 benefits may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning several of your initial queries, such as the type of physical therapist degree you would like to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Dixiana AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll need to explore other qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of college choices. Furthermore, you need to make certain that you select the college that is ideal for you. That's the reason we have collected a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are considering. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Ask if the schools you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier mentioned, 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 school, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to 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 School's Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it's imperative that the school and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several ways you can investigate a PT college's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Get in touch with a few Dixiana AL physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you might be interested 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 see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist programs you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Dixiana AL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even exceptional. It also affirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the program you enroll in provides both exceptional training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the physical therapy schools you are reviewing have partnerships with Dixiana AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Dixiana medical community and help with job placement after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapy program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Dixiana AL residence. Students who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide 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 normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? The majority of DPT schools supply some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of aid is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. Some physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapist school you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Dixiana AL area, make certain 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 have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Dixiana Physical Therapist School
Picking the best physical therapist program is an important initial decision you must make to launch a rewarding career in the healthcare profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you choose should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. However there are additional relevant questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapy college keep in mind that a number of factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might want to go to different campuses to view their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me achieve my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the right selection. And with the proper training and education, you can achieve your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Dixiana Alabama.