Home >> Alabama >> Prichard >> Physical Therapist Degrees


Request Free Information on Physical Therapist Degrees Prichard AL 36571

How to Select the Right Physical Therapy Course Near Prichard Alabama

Prichard Alabama physical therapist working with woman using balance ballEarning a physical therapy degree near Prichard AL is an essential first step to starting a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the appropriate training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it's essential to research the ones you are thinking about to ensure they will furnish a superior education and comply with your state's licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be evaluated in addition to cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we'll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.

What is a Physical Therapist?

Prichard Alabama DPT helping female patient to walk

Physical therapists work in a variety of settings, including Prichard AL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to address the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also try to prevent any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:

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

Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Prichard AL medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degree Options

Prichard Alabama DPT working with man 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 attainable that qualifies the graduate to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degree levels that are offered to prospective students in the Prichard 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 earned a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are usually provided by community or junior colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a portion of the course of study.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist education to ready students to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor's degrees, they generally 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 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 complete, making the total investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential component in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not solely 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 phased out and is no longer attainable in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapy Online Schools

Prichard Alabama female student taking physical therapist courses onlineWhile not as common as the on campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, even more 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 requires that the student live close to the school 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 Prichard AL residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat lower than comparable on-campus options, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Programs

At this point you probably have come to decision concerning a few of your preliminary queries, including the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Prichard AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll need to look into additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college choices. Furthermore, you want to make sure that you pick the program that is best for you. That's why we have put together a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering. Ask each of the potential schools these questions before making a final decision.

Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited?  Ask if the schools you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online program, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the College's Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it's imperative that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can research a PT program's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Get in touch with several Prichard AL physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your program options. It may 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 School's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two important statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the help of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Prichard AL area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even excellent. It also affirms that the college has a large network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the program you select furnishes both superior training and a course of study that supports 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) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the physical therapist schools you are evaluating have relationships with Prichard AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional connections in the Prichard medical community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program as well.

Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Prichard AL residence. Students who have chosen 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 concern. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? The majority of DPT colleges offer some type of financial aid to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid office and see what type of aid is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance may be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapy college you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Prichard AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.

Find Out More About Prichard Physical Therapy Majors

Enroll in the Right Prichard Physical Therapist School

Choosing the right physical therapist school is an important first decision you need to make to start a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you enroll in should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. But there are other important questions that you should ask concerning your school of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist college keep in mind that many variables will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might want to go to different schools to view their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Prichard Alabama.


 

Prichard Physical Therapy Degrees | Main | Prichard Physical Therapy Major Programs