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Alabaster Albertville Alexander City
Andalusia Anniston Arab
Athens Atmore Attalla
Auburn Bay Minette Bessemer
Birmingham Boaz Brewton
Brook Highland Calera Center Point
Chelsea Chickasaw Clanton
Clay Cullman Daleville
Daphne Decatur Demopolis
Dixiana Dothan East Florence
Enterprise Eufaula Fairfield
Fairhope Florence Foley
Forestdale Fort Payne Fultondale
Gadsden Gardendale Glencoe
Greenville Gulf Shores Guntersville
Hamilton Hartselle Harvest
Helena Homewood Hoover
Hueytown Huntsville Irondale
Jacksonville Jasper Lanett
Leeds Lincoln Madison
Meadowbrook Meridianville Midfield
Millbrook Mobile Monroeville
Montevallo Montgomery Moody
Moores Mill Mountain Brook Muscle Shoals
Northport Oneonta Opelika
Opp Orange Beach Oxford
Ozark Pelham Pell City
Phenix City Pike Road Pinson
Pleasant Grove Prattville Prichard
Princeton Rainbow City Rainsville
Roanoke Robertsdale Russellville
Saks Saraland Satsuma
Scottsboro Selma Sheffield
Smiths Station Southside Spanish Fort
Sylacauga Talladega Tarrant
Theodore Tillmans Corner Troy
Trussville Tuscaloosa Tuscumbia
Tuskegee Valley Vestavia Hills
Wetumpka

What is a Physical Therapist?

Alabama DPT assisting female patient to walk

Physical therapists practice in diverse locations, including Alabama 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 stated, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they design a program of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Strokes
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Burn injuries
  • Knee Replacement
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Multiple Sclerosis

Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other AL medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also manage several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degree Options

Alabama DPT working with patient in pool

There are three physical therapist degrees available for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is offered that qualifies the graduate to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degree levels that are offered to prospective students in Alabama:

  • Associate Degrees educate students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are usually provided by community or junior colleges, and take about two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a component of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training to prep candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor's degrees, they generally take four years to complete and commonly include 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). In addition to the bachelor's degree, the doctoral takes three years to complete, making the total commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential component along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Consequently 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 phased out and is no longer offered in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists having a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapist Online Colleges

Alabama woman taking physical therapy training onlineWhile not as common as the more traditional alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapy programs available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Alabama home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition might be somewhat less than similar on-campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.

Learn More About Alabama Online Physical Therapist Majors

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