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How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapy College Near Tillmans Corner Alabama

Tillmans Corner Alabama physical therapist working with female patient holding balance ballObtaining a physical therapist degree near Tillmans Corner AL is an essential first step to starting a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated due to illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the proper education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it's important to evaluate those you are considering to make sure they will provide a superior education and satisfy your state's licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is select a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be considered in addition to cost and location. But before we cover 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?

Tillmans Corner Alabama physical therapist assisting woman to walk

Physical therapists practice in diverse locations, such as Tillmans Corner AL private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a program of treatment to address the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:

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

Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Tillmans Corner AL medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees Offered

Tillmans Corner Alabama physical therapist working with man in pool

There are 3 physical therapy degree options available for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one 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. Below are short summaries of degrees that are available to prospective students in the Tillmans Corner AL area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are typically provided by community colleges, and require 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a component of the program.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy training to prep students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor's degrees, they normally require four years to complete and usually incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are a requirement in order to become a licensed practicing 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 overall investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal component in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in several states for licensing as well.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master's of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer available in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists having a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapy Colleges Online

Tillmans Corner Alabama female student taking physical therapy classes onlineWhile not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapist degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the program may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student's Tillmans Corner AL home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat less than similar on campus options, and costs for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges

At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning a few of your preliminary queries, like the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Tillmans Corner AL area and across Alabama, you'll need to explore additional qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college options. Also, you need to make certain that you enroll in the program that is right for you. That's the reason we have compiled a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited?  Ask if the programs you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As previously mentioned, 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 receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapist program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's imperative that the college and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several ways you can research a PT school's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with some Tillmans Corner AL physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your school options. It may also be a good idea 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 find out about all of the physical therapy colleges you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Tillmans Corner AL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or even outstanding. It also affirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the school you enroll in provides both superior training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the physical therapist programs you are evaluating have associations with Tillmans Corner AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Tillmans Corner medical community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are researching what the average 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 a chance to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program as well.

Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Tillmans Corner AL home. Students who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble 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 program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Help Provided? The majority of DPT colleges supply some type of financial support to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are considering have a financial aid office and see what type of help is offered. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance might be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapist college you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Tillmans Corner AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Tillmans Corner Physical Therapist Colleges

Choose the Best Tillmans Corner Physical Therapist School

Deciding on the right physical therapy college is an important first decision you must make to begin a fulfilling career in the health care profession. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you decide on should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are other important questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapy school keep in mind that numerous variables will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You may want to visit different schools to see their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me achieve 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 necessary education and training, you can achieve your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Tillmans Corner Alabama.


 

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