Home >> Alabama >> Trussville >> Physical Therapist Degrees


Get Free Information on Physical Therapy Degree Majors Trussville AL 35015

How to Find the Right Physical Therapy Degree Program Near Trussville Alabama

Trussville Alabama physical therapist working with female patient holding balance ballObtaining a physical therapy degree near Trussville AL is a critical first step to launching a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated as a result of injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it's essential to investigate those you are considering to ensure they will furnish a superior education and meet your state's licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is select a college just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be evaluated besides location and cost. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we'll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.

What Do Physical Therapists Do?

Trussville Alabama DPT helping female patient to walk

Physical therapists work in varying settings, such as Trussville AL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to address the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Head injuries
  • Heart attacks
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Fire injuries
  • Knee Replacement
  • Sciatica
  • Cerebral Palsy

Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Trussville AL medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating 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 routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees Offered

Trussville Alabama physical therapist working with man in pool

There are 3 physical therapy degrees offered for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is available that qualifies the graduate to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing 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 Trussville AL area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often offered by community or junior colleges, and take about two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a component of the program.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy education to prepare candidates to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor's degrees, they typically take 4 years to complete and commonly include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are required if you want to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program also must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). After earning the bachelor's degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the total commitment seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential element in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment 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 available in the United States. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapy Online Programs

Trussville Alabama female student taking physical therapy courses onlineWhile not as common as the on-campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapist programs available, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the curriculum can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Trussville AL residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat less than comparable on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.

Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Schools

At this point you probably have made a decision regarding a few of your preliminary queries, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you want to earn, 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 Trussville AL area and across Alabama, you'll have to look into other qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of school options. Moreover, you need to make sure that you pick the college that is right for you. That's why we have put together a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited?  Ask if the colleges you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. 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 school and program you select are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program's Reputation? Along with accreditation, it's important that the school and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT college's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call some Trussville AL physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your program selections. It might also be prudent to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the schools.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of useful statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist programs you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Trussville AL area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also confirms that the program has a large network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the program you enroll in 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 needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapist schools you are evaluating have associations with Trussville AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Trussville healthcare community and help with job placement after licensing.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapist program also.

Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Trussville AL residence. Those who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Support Offered? Most DPT schools provide some form of financial support to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance department and see what type of help is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. Some physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance might be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapist school you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Trussville AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.

Learn More About Trussville Physical Therapist Degrees

Enroll in the Right Trussville Physical Therapist School

Deciding on the right physical therapy program is an important first decision you need to make to begin a gratifying career in the medical profession. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you pick should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. However there are additional important questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapy school bear in mind that many factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might want to go to different campuses to view their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me realize my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the best choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Trussville Alabama.


 

Trussville Physical Therapy Degrees | Main | Trussville Physical Therapy Major Programs