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How to Choose the Right Physical Therapist Course Near Moores Mill Alabama

Moores Mill Alabama physical therapist working with female patient holding balance ballEarning a physical therapy degree near Moores Mill AL is an important first step to beginning a rewarding career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated as a result of injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it's important to investigate the ones you are considering to make sure they will furnish a quality education and meet your state's licensing standards. What you do not want to do is choose a school just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be considered besides location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we'll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.

What Do Physical Therapists Do?

Moores Mill Alabama DPT assisting female patient to walk

Physical therapists practice in a variety of locations, such as Moores Mill AL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a course of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Strokes
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Sports injuries
  • Burn injuries
  • Knee Replacement
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Moores Mill AL medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees Available

Moores Mill Alabama DPT working with man in pool

There are three physical therapy degree options available for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is available that qualifies the graduate to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short explanations of degrees that are available to prospective students in the Moores Mill AL area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically offered by junior or community colleges, and take about two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a portion of the program.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to prep candidates to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor's degrees, they generally require four years to finish 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 must also be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). After earning the bachelor's degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to finish, making the total commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal component along with the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in some 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 offered in the United States. Some practicing 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 Therapy Online Degrees

Moores Mill Alabama woman taking physical therapist training onlineAlthough not as common as the more traditional alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online part of the course of study can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Moores Mill AL home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition can be significantly less than comparable on campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.

Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Programs

At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding several of your preliminary queries, including the type of physical therapy degree you want to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Moores Mill AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll have to explore other qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Moreover, you need to be sure that you select the program that is ideal for you. That's why we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited?  Find out if the colleges you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As earlier stated, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you select an online school, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the School's Ranking? Along with accreditation, it's imperative that the college and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can look into a PT school's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact several 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 give you any insight 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 submitted 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 therapy schools you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Moores Mill AL area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps excellent. It also affirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the program 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) 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 supplemental exams.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the physical therapy schools you are evaluating have associations with Moores Mill AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to get practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Moores Mill medical community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want 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 students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapy program also.

Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Moores Mill AL residence. Individuals 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. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose 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 often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Support Offered? The majority of DPT colleges offer some form of financial aid to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are looking at have a financial assistance office and find out what type of help is available. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial aid may be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapist college you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Moores Mill AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Moores Mill Online Physical Therapy Colleges

Choose the Right Moores Mill Physical Therapist School

Deciding on the right physical therapy school is a necessary initial decision you need to make to begin a gratifying career in the healthcare profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you choose should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are additional critical questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapy program bear in mind that many variables will guide you toward your final decision. You may decide to go to different schools to view their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me realize my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the ideal choice. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Moores Mill Alabama.


 

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