Home >> Alabama >> Hueytown >> Physical Therapy Major Programs


Receive Free Info on Physical Therapist Programs Hueytown AL 35023

How to Pick the Right Physical Therapist School Near Hueytown Alabama

Hueytown Alabama physical therapist working with woman holding exercise ballObtaining a physical therapist degree near Hueytown AL is an essential first step to starting a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated due to injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the necessary training and education. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it's necessary to research those you are considering to make certain they will furnish a quality education and comply with your state's licensing standards. 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 cheapest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be evaluated in addition to location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we'll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.

What Does a Physical Therapist Do?

Hueytown Alabama DPT helping female patient to walk

Physical therapists practice in a variety of locations, such as Hueytown AL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they create a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Strokes
  • Heart attacks
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Burn injuries
  • Hip Replacement
  • Sciatica
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Hueytown AL health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees Offered

Hueytown Alabama DPT working with patient in pool

There are 3 physical therapist degree options offered for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is available that qualifies the graduate to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training 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 offered to prospective students in the Hueytown 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 a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually provided by junior or community colleges, and take about two 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 designed as pre-physical therapist training to ready students to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor's degrees, they typically require four years to finish and often include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are mandated in order to become a licensed practicing 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 three years to finish, making the total commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal component along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not solely 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 eliminated and is no longer attainable in the United States. A number of practicing physical therapists holding a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapist Schools Online

Hueytown Alabama woman taking physical therapist training onlineAlthough not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online part of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Hueytown AL home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition may be significantly less than comparable on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges

At this point you most likely have come to decision concerning several of your preliminary questions, including the kind of physical therapist degree you intend to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are so many PT colleges within the Hueytown AL area and across Alabama, you'll need to explore additional qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of college choices. Furthermore, you want to make sure that you choose the program that is right for you. That's why we have compiled a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential schools these questions before making a final decision.

Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited?  Ask if the programs you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national 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 enroll in an online program, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential 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 agency. Besides ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the Program's Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it's imperative that the school and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT program's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call several Hueytown AL physical therapy clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your program options. It may also be a good idea to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? There are a two relevant statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students left because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the help of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Hueytown AL area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps excellent. It also verifies that the school has a wide network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the college you select provides both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. 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 program. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the physical therapist colleges you are evaluating have relationships with Hueytown AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Hueytown healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program as well.

Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Hueytown AL residence. Students 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. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Help Offered? The majority of DPT colleges supply some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and find out what type of help is offered. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. Some physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid may be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapist school you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Hueytown AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.

Find Out More About Hueytown Online Physical Therapy Majors

Enroll in the Best Hueytown Physical Therapy School

Selecting the ideal physical therapy school is an important first decision you need to make to begin a rewarding career in the healthcare profession. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you select should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are other relevant questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapy school bear in mind that many factors will guide you to your final decision. You may decide to visit different schools to view their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me reach my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Hueytown Alabama.


 

Hueytown Physical Therapist Degrees | Main | Hueytown Physical Therapy Schools