How to Pick the Right Physical Therapist Program Near Moores Mill Alabama
Earning a physical therapist degree near Moores Mill AL is an essential first step to starting a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated due to illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it's important to research those you are looking at to make sure they will provide a quality education and satisfy your state's licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is choose a school just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be considered in addition to cost and location. But before we cover 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 Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists practice in varying settings, such as Moores Mill AL private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. 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 often pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a program of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries
- Heart attacks
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Burn injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Moores Mill AL health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are three physical therapist degree options offered for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the one 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 readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief explanations of degrees that are offered to prospective students in the Moores Mill AL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are usually offered by junior or community colleges, and take about two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually part of the course of study.
- Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to ready candidates to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor's degrees, they typically take 4 years to finish and usually incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated in order to become a licensed practicing 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 total investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential component in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in some states for licensing as well.
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 licensed physical therapists holding a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Programs
While not as prevalent as the more traditional options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Moores Mill AL residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition might be significantly less than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning several of your initial queries, such as the type of physical therapy degree you would like to earn, 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 schools within the Moores Mill AL area and across Alabama, you'll need to look into other qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of school options. Furthermore, you want to make sure that you pick the program that is best for you. That's why we have collected a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing schools these questions prior to making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As earlier 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 school, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program's Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it's essential that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT program's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact a few Moores Mill AL physical therapy centers or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your college options. It might also be a good idea to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. One 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 assistance of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Moores Mill AL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even excellent. It also affirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the program you choose furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements 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) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the physical therapy programs you are interested in have associations with Moores Mill 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 also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Moores Mill healthcare community and help with job placement after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want 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 therapist program also.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist school they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Moores Mill AL residence. Those who have decided to attend classes online obviously 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 bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have 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 supply some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have a financial aid office and see what type of help is offered. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. Some physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapy college you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Moores Mill AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Moores Mill Physical Therapist School
Deciding on the right physical therapy college is a necessary first decision you have to make to begin a gratifying career in the medical profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you enroll in should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are additional critical questions that you need to ask regarding your college of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapist college keep in mind that a number of factors will guide you to your ultimate decision. You may want to visit each of the campuses to see their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the right selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Moores Mill Alabama.