How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapy School Near Moores Mill Alabama
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Moores Mill AL is a critical first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled due to illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the appropriate training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it's essential to investigate those you are looking at to make certain they will provide a quality education and satisfy your state's licensing standards. What you should not do is enroll in a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be considered along with location and cost. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we'll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists practice in varying locations, including Moores Mill AL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they create a program of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest
- Sports injuries
- Fire injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Moores Mill AL medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also supervise 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 considering entering the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degree Options
There are three physical therapist degree options available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is available that qualifies the graduate to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are brief descriptions of degrees that are offered to prospective students in the Moores Mill AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are usually provided by community colleges, and require two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a portion of the program.
- Bachelor's Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to prepare students to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor's degrees, they typically require 4 years to complete and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required 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 finish, making the total commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an important component in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not only 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 eliminated and is no longer available in the United States. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Online Degrees
While not as common as the more traditional alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy programs available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online segment of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Moores Mill AL home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition might be significantly less than comparable on campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
At this point you probably have made a decision concerning some of your initial queries, including the kind of physical therapist degree you want to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are so many PT colleges within the Moores Mill AL area and across Alabama, you'll have to research other qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of college options. Also, you need to make sure that you choose the college that is right for you. That's why we have put together a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are considering. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Ask if the schools you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a national or a regional 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 choose an online program, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program's Standing? Along with accreditation, it's essential that the college and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can investigate a PT school'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 agencies for their reviews also. Contact a few Moores Mill AL physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your college options. It might also be a good idea to check with the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? There are a two useful statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Moores Mill AL area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or even exceptional. It also confirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the college you choose provides both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapist colleges you are interested in have partnerships with Moores Mill AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Moores Mill health care community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapy program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Moores Mill AL residence. Students who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry 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 perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? The majority of DPT schools offer some form of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are considering have a financial assistance department and find out what kind of help is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapist school you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Moores Mill AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Moores Mill Physical Therapy School
Choosing the ideal physical therapy college is an important initial decision you have to make to start a fulfilling career in the healthcare profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you pick should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. But there are other critical questions that you should ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapy school keep in mind that numerous factors will guide you to your ultimate decision. You may decide to go to different colleges to view their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me realize my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the ideal choice. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Moores Mill Alabama.