How to Select a Physical Therapy Program near Douglasville 30133
Obtaining a physical therapy degree near Douglasville GA is an important first step to starting a rewarding career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated due to injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the appropriate education and training. A PT must also be licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to research those you are looking at to ensure they will furnish a superior 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 cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated along with cost and location. But before we cover 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 Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in varying settings, such as Douglasville GA hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop 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
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Douglasville GA health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in 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 often lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are 3 physical therapy degree options offered for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is attainable 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 advance to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degree levels that are available in the Douglasville GA area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can 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 typically offered by community or junior colleges, and require 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy training to ready candidates to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take 4 years to complete and commonly incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required in order to become a practicing licensed 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 3 years to complete, making the overall investment of time 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an intregal element in addition to 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 replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer offered in the United States. A number of practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Degrees Online
Although not as prevalent as the more traditional alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist programs available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work 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 segment of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Douglasville GA home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition may be somewhat less than comparable on campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
At this point you most likely have come to decision regarding some of your preliminary queries, including the type of physical therapy degree you want to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the Douglasville GA area and throughout Georgia, you’ll have to explore additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school options. Moreover, you need to make certain that you enroll in the school that is ideal for you. That’s why we have collected a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are considering. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Find out if the schools you are looking at 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 choose an online school, it may also earn 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, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT college’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Get in touch with a few Douglasville GA physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your school options. It might also be a good idea to contact the Georgia 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 two useful statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Douglasville GA area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps excellent. It also verifies that the school has a large network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you enroll in provides both superior training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements for Georgia 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. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the physical therapy colleges you are assessing have relationships with Douglasville GA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Douglasville healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Douglasville GA home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Support Provided? Most DPT colleges provide some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance office and see what kind of assistance is offered. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapy program you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Douglasville GA area, confirm that they are available. 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 have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Douglasville Georgia?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Douglasville GA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Located along a natural rise in the topography, Douglasville was originally known as "Skint Chestnut." The name was derived from a large tree used by Native Americans as a landmark; it was stripped of its bark so as to be more conspicuous.
Douglasville was founded in 1874 as the railroad was constructed in the area. That same year, Douglasville was designated as the county seat of the recently formed Douglas County. The community was named for Senator Stephen A. Douglas.
On September 21, 2009, Douglas County was devastated by the worst flood in Georgia history. Over 18 inches (457 mm) of rain fell in one night, destroying many roads and homes. The county was later declared a disaster area, and the governor of Georgia declared a state of emergency. The flooding most affected the areas of Douglasville, Villa Rica, Austell, Lithia Springs, and Chapel Hill. The disaster killed more than eight people in the county, most of them in the Douglasville area.
Pick the Ideal Physical Therapy Degree Program near Douglasville GA
Selecting the best physical therapy program is a necessary first decision you need to make to launch a fulfilling career in the medical field. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you enroll in should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. However there are other important questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapy school, keep in mind that a number of variables will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You might want to go to each of the colleges to view their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the best choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Douglasville GA.
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