How to Pick the Right Physical Therapy School Near Moores Mill Alabama
Earning a physical therapist degree near Moores Mill AL is an essential first step to launching a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the necessary education and training. A PT must also become licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it's essential to evaluate those you are thinking about to ensure they will furnish a superior education and satisfy your state's licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is select a school just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be considered besides cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we'll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist's Job Description?
Physical therapists practice in diverse locations, including Moores Mill AL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a program of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries
- Cardiac arrest
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Fire injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Moores Mill AL medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are three physical therapist degree options available for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is attainable that qualifies the graduate to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief descriptions of degree levels that are offered to prospective students in the Moores Mill AL area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are usually made available by community or junior colleges, and require two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to ready candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor's degrees, they typically require four years to complete and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement if you want 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 3 years to complete, making the overall commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an important element in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not just for graduation but in a number of states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master's of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer available 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 present licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Colleges Online
Although not as common as the on campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online segment of the program may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Moores Mill AL home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition may be somewhat less than similar on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits can 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 probably have come to decision regarding some of your initial queries, like the type of physical therapy degree you want to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Moores Mill AL area and across Alabama, you'll have to explore additional qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of college options. Furthermore, you need to be sure that you choose the school that is best for you. That's why we have compiled a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Ask if the schools you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national 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 select an online college, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School's Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it's imperative that the school and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT school's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Get in touch with some Moores Mill AL physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your program selections. It may also be prudent to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the College's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy colleges you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Moores Mill AL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even excellent. It also verifies that the college has a wide network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the college you choose provides 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 required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing have relationships with Moores Mill AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Moores Mill healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. 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 opinions regarding the physical therapist program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Moores Mill AL residence. Those who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
Is Financial Support Offered? The majority of DPT schools offer some form of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are considering have a financial aid office and see what type of aid is available. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapist college you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Moores Mill AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have 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.
Choose the Best Moores Mill Physical Therapist School
Deciding on the ideal physical therapy program is a necessary initial decision you must make to start a rewarding career in the medical field. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you enroll in should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are additional critical questions that you should ask regarding your college of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapist college keep in mind that numerous variables will guide you toward your final decision. You may decide to visit different colleges to view their facilities and talk to active 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 following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the right selection. And with the proper training and education, you can achieve your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Moores Mill Alabama.