Home >> Alabama >> Greenville >> Physical Therapy Schools


Get Free Information on Physical Therapy Colleges Greenville AL 36037

How to Choose the Right Physical Therapy Program Near Greenville Alabama

Greenville Alabama physical therapist working with female patient using balance ballReceiving a physical therapy degree near Greenville AL is an important first step to launching a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated due to illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the necessary education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it's necessary to investigate the ones you are thinking about to make sure they will provide a superior education and meet your state's licensing criteria. What you should not do is select a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated besides 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?

Greenville Alabama physical therapist assisting woman to walk

Physical therapists work in a variety of locations, including Greenville AL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Head injuries
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Sports injuries
  • Burn injuries
  • Knee Replacement
  • Sciatica
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Greenville AL health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees

Greenville Alabama DPT working with patient in pool

There are three physical therapy degree options available for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is offered 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 readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degree levels that are available to prospective students in the Greenville AL area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are most often provided by community colleges, and require 2 years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a component of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to prep students to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor's degrees, they typically take four years to complete and often incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are a requirement if you want to become a practicing licensed physical therapist. The degree program also must 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 seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal component in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in a number of 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 phased out and is no longer attainable in the United States. A number of practicing physical therapists holding a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapy Programs Online

Greenville Alabama woman taking physical therapist courses onlineAlthough not as prevalent as the more traditional alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure 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 an available internship. Fortunately, the online part of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Greenville AL home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat lower than comparable on-campus options, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.

Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Schools

By now you probably have made a decision concerning some of your initial queries, such as the type of physical therapy degree you want to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Greenville AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll have to look into other qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of school options. Also, you want to be sure that you enroll in the program that is right for you. That's the reason we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are considering. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited?  Ask if the schools you are looking at have received accreditation from a national or a regional 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 select an online school, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the Program's Ranking? Along with accreditation, it's important that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several ways you can look into a PT program's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Call several Greenville AL physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your college selections. It may also be prudent to check with the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the schools.

What is the School's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapy programs you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the assistance of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Greenville AL area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also confirms that the college has a large network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the college you choose furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum 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) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing have associations with Greenville AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional connections in the Greenville medical community and assist with job placement after licensing.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly 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 want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak 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 number of students, the physical therapy school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Greenville AL home. Students who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Aid Provided? The majority of DPT schools supply some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are considering have a financial aid office and see what kind of assistance is offered. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance might be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapy school you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Greenville AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.

Learn More About Greenville Online Physical Therapist Colleges

Enroll in the Best Greenville Physical Therapist School

Choosing the best physical therapist school is a necessary initial decision you must make to begin a rewarding career in the medical profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you choose should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. However there are additional important questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapist program bear in mind that many variables will guide you to your final decision. You might decide to go to each of the colleges to view their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me reach 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 appropriate choice. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Greenville Alabama.


 

Greenville Physical Therapy Major Programs | Main | Greenville Physical Therapist Schools