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How to Select the Right Physical Therapist Course Near Tuskegee Alabama

Tuskegee Alabama physical therapist working with female patient holding balance ballObtaining a physical therapist degree near Tuskegee AL is an important first step to launching a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled as a result of injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the appropriate education and training. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it's important to research those you are looking at to make certain they will furnish a quality education and satisfy your state's licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be evaluated along with location and cost. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we'll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.

What is a Physical Therapist's Job Description?

Tuskegee Alabama physical therapist assisting female patient to walk

Physical therapists practice in diverse locations, including Tuskegee AL private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:

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

Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Tuskegee AL health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees

Tuskegee Alabama DPT working with man in pool

There are 3 physical therapy degrees offered for students to pursue 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 target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief explanations of degree levels that are available to prospective students in the Tuskegee AL area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are usually provided by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically part of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor's Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist training to prep students to progress 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. As with most bachelor's degrees, they typically require 4 years to complete and commonly include 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 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 investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal element along with the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in a number of 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 available in the USA. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master's or even a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in prior to the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapist Programs Online

Tuskegee Alabama female student taking physical therapist training onlineWhile not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapy programs available, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work 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 part of the program may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Tuskegee AL residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat lower than comparable on campus options, and costs for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.

Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Schools

At this point you probably have made a decision concerning a few of your initial questions, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Tuskegee AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll have to research additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of college options. Also, you need to be sure that you pick the school that is best for you. That's why we have collected a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are considering. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited?  Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you enroll in an online school, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the College's Standing? Along with accreditation, it's important that the college and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can research a PT college's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call some Tuskegee AL physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your program options. It might also be a good idea to check with the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? There are a two useful statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapist colleges you are looking at. One 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, how many of them are being hired with the help of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Tuskegee AL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even exceptional. It also verifies that the college has a large network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the school you choose provides both superior training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements 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) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapy colleges you are assessing have relationships with Tuskegee AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Tuskegee health care community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the back of class 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 schools you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapy program also.

Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapist school they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Tuskegee AL home. Students who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Aid Provided? The majority of DPT colleges offer some form of financial support to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department and find out what type of help is available. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance may be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapist school you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Tuskegee AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Tuskegee Physical Therapy Majors

Enroll in the Right Tuskegee Physical Therapy School

Choosing the best physical therapist college is a necessary first decision you have to make to begin a rewarding career in the healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you decide on should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. But there are other critical questions that you need to ask regarding your college of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapist program keep in mind that many variables will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You may decide to go to different schools to see their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me reach my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the best selection. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Tuskegee Alabama.


 

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