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How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapist School Near Moody Alabama

Moody Alabama physical therapist working with female patient using balance ballObtaining a physical therapist degree near Moody AL is a critical first step to launching a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated as a result of injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the appropriate education and training. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it's important to investigate the ones you are looking at to make certain they will provide a superior education and meet your state's licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is select a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be considered besides cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we'll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.

What Does a Physical Therapist Do?

Moody Alabama DPT assisting female patient to walk

Physical therapists practice in a variety of settings, such as Moody AL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help people that are experiencing 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 issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Head injuries
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Sports injuries
  • Fire injuries
  • Knee Replacement
  • Sciatica
  • Multiple Sclerosis

Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Moody AL medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy profession, 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 Degrees Available

Moody Alabama physical therapist working with patient in pool

There are 3 physical therapist degree options available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is available 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 prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degree levels that are available to prospective students in the Moody AL area:

  • Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are most often offered by community or junior colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a component of the program.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy training to ready candidates to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor's degrees, they typically require four years to finish and usually incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are a requirement if you want to become a practicing licensed 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 three years to finish, making the total investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal component along with the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in some 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 USA. A number of practicing physical therapists having a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapy Colleges Online

Moody Alabama woman taking physical therapy courses onlineWhile not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Moody AL residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition might be significantly lower than comparable on campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Programs

At this point you most likely have come to decision concerning a few of your initial questions, such as the type of physical therapist degree you would like to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Moody AL area and across Alabama, you'll have to research other qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of college options. Also, you want to be sure that you pick the college that is ideal for you. That's the reason we have collected a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering. Ask each of the competing schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited?  Ask if the schools you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As previously 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 college, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the College's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's important that the school and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT college's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call some Moody AL physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your program selections. It might also be prudent to check with the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? There are a two significant statistics that you need to know 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 dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Moody AL area? If a school 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 large network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment after graduation.

Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the college you select furnishes both superior training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are assessing have relationships with Moody AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Moody medical community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program also.

Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Moody AL home. Students who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT colleges supply some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are considering have a financial aid department and see what type of help is available. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. A number of physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance might be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist college you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Moody AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Moody Online Physical Therapist Courses

Choose the Best Moody Physical Therapy School

Picking the right physical therapy college is an important first decision you have to make to begin a rewarding career in the healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you choose should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are other critical questions that you need to ask regarding your school of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapist program bear in mind that numerous variables will lead you to your ultimate decision. You may decide to visit each of the schools to see their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the ideal choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Moody Alabama.


 

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