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How to Select the Right Physical Therapy Course Near Satsuma Alabama

Satsuma Alabama physical therapist working with woman holding exercise ballGetting a physical therapy degree near Satsuma AL is an important first step to launching a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled as a result of injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the proper training and education. A PT must also become licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it's essential to investigate those you are looking at to ensure they will provide a quality 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 cheapest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be evaluated 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 Does a Physical Therapist Do?

Satsuma Alabama DPT helping woman to walk

Physical therapists work in varying locations, including Satsuma AL private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they design a program of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Head injuries
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Sports injuries
  • Fire injuries
  • Hip Replacement
  • Sciatica
  • Multiple Sclerosis

Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Satsuma AL medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees

Satsuma Alabama physical therapist working with man in pool

There are 3 physical therapist degrees offered for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is offered that qualifies the graduate to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are brief explanations of degree levels that are available to prospective students in the Satsuma AL area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically provided by community colleges, and require 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a component of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist training 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 initial step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor's degrees, they generally require 4 years to finish and usually incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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). After earning the bachelor's degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to finish, making the total investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential element in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not solely 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 USA. A number of 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 Therapist Online Colleges

Satsuma Alabama female student taking physical therapy training onlineWhile not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online part of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Satsuma AL home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition can be significantly lower than comparable on campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.

Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Schools

At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding several of your preliminary 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 Satsuma AL area and across Alabama, you'll have to explore other qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of college options. Furthermore, you need to make certain that you enroll in the school that is best for you. That's the reason we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited?  Ask if the programs you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. 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 school, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapist school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the Program's Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it's important that the college and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT program's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Call a few Satsuma AL physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your school options. It might 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? There are a two useful statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy schools you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest that students left because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Satsuma AL area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even outstanding. It also confirms that the college has a broad network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the school you select provides both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapist programs you are reviewing have relationships with Satsuma AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Satsuma medical community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program as well.

Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they select will need to be within driving distance of their Satsuma AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT schools offer some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department and see what kind of help is offered. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance might be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapy college you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Satsuma AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.

Learn More About Satsuma Online Physical Therapist Courses

Choose the Right Satsuma Physical Therapy School

Selecting the best physical therapist college is an important first decision you have to make to begin a rewarding career in the healthcare profession. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you select should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. But there are other critical questions that you should ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist program keep in mind that numerous factors will guide you to your final decision. You may want to go to each of the colleges to see their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the best choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Satsuma Alabama.


 

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