Home >> Alabama >> Midfield >> Physical Therapy Major Programs


Get Free Information on Physical Therapist Colleges Midfield AL 35064

How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapy Course Near Midfield Alabama

Midfield Alabama physical therapist working with female patient holding balance ballEarning a physical therapist degree near Midfield AL is an essential first step to launching a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled due to injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the proper 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 college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it's necessary to investigate the ones you are looking at to make sure they will deliver a quality education and satisfy your state's licensing criteria. What you should not do is select a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be evaluated besides cost and location. But before we cover what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we'll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.

What is a Physical Therapist's Job Description?

Midfield Alabama DPT assisting woman to walk

Physical therapists practice in varying locations, such as Midfield AL private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Head injuries
  • Heart attacks
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Burn injuries
  • Hip Replacement
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Multiple Sclerosis

Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Midfield AL medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees

Midfield Alabama DPT working with patient in pool

There are three physical therapy degree options offered for students to enroll in 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 prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief summaries of degree levels that are offered to prospective students in the Midfield AL area:

  • Associate Degrees educate students to be physical therapy assistants, or can 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 or junior colleges, and require 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a component of the program.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist training to prepare candidates to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor's degrees, they generally take 4 years to complete and commonly incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are required in order to become a practicing licensed physical therapist. The degree program must also 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 overall commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an important element in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not just for graduation but in a number of states for licensing as well.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master's of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer offered in the United States. A number of practicing physical therapists having a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapy Online Degrees

Midfield Alabama woman taking physical therapist training onlineWhile not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Midfield AL home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition can be significantly lower than similar on-campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Schools

At this point you most likely have made a decision regarding some of your preliminary questions, like the kind of physical therapy degree you want to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Midfield AL area and across Alabama, you'll have to look into additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school options. Furthermore, you want to be sure that you choose the program that is right for you. That's the reason we have compiled a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are thinking about. Ask each of the competing schools these questions prior to making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited?  Ask if the schools you are reviewing have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. 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 program, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapy school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Also, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program's Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it's important that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT program's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Call some Midfield AL physical therapy clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your college options. It might also be prudent to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.

What is the College's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two important statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapist colleges you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students left due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the help of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Midfield AL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the health care field is good or even excellent. It also confirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to help students get internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the program you select furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are assessing have associations with Midfield AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Midfield healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapy program as well.

Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Midfield AL home. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide 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 commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Aid Offered? The majority of DPT colleges supply some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are considering have a financial aid department and see what kind of help is available. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance may be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapist school you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Midfield AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.

Find Out More About Midfield Physical Therapy Colleges

Enroll in the Best Midfield Physical Therapy School

Selecting the right physical therapist college is an important initial decision you have to make to begin a fulfilling career in the health care field. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you decide on should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are additional critical questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapist college keep in mind that a number of variables will lead you to your ultimate decision. You may decide to visit each of the colleges to view their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the ideal choice. And with the proper training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Midfield Alabama.


 

Midfield Physical Therapist Degrees | Main | Midfield Physical Therapy Schools