How to Choose a Physical Therapy Training Program near Elberton 30635
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Elberton GA is a critical first step to launching a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated due to illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the proper education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, many requiring 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 considering to make sure they will furnish a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is choose a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be considered besides location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in varying locations, including Elberton GA hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a course of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Elberton GA medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapist degrees offered for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief summaries of degree levels that are offered in the Elberton GA area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are most often provided by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually part of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to prepare students to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they normally require 4 years to complete and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated 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 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an important component in addition to the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in several states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer attainable in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Programs
While not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online part of the program may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Elberton GA residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition might be significantly lower than similar on-campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
By now you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning several of your initial questions, such as the type of physical therapy degree you would like to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the Elberton GA area and throughout Georgia, you’ll have to look into other qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of school options. Moreover, you want to make sure that you select the college that is right for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Find out if the programs you are looking at have received accreditation from a national or a regional 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 program, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call a few Elberton GA physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your college options. It might also be prudent to contact the Georgia Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two useful statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapy colleges you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean 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 support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Elberton GA area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care field is good or even excellent. It also affirms that the school has a large network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the program you choose furnishes both superior training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria for Georgia or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the physical therapist colleges you are evaluating have relationships with Elberton GA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Elberton healthcare community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Elberton GA residence. Students who have opted 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. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? The majority of DPT schools provide some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are considering have a financial aid office and see what type of assistance is offered. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapist program you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Elberton GA area, check 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 enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Elberton Georgia?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Elberton GA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Elberton is the largest city in Elbert County, Georgia, United States. The population was 4,653 at the 2010 census. The city is the county seat of Elbert County, and serves as a hub for industry and small business in Northeast Georgia.
Settled in the 1780s, Elbert was designated seat of the newly formed Elbert County in 1790. It was incorporated as a town in 1803 and as a city in 1896. Like Elbert County, Elberton is named for Samuel Elbert.
Elberton is located near the center of Elbert County at 34°6′35″N 82°51′56″W / 34.10972°N 82.86556°W / 34.10972; -82.86556 (34.109628, -82.865669). State Routes 17 and 72 pass east-west through the center of town as College Avenue, while 77 crosses north-south on Oliver Street. GA 17 leads northwest 19 miles (31 km) to Royston and southeast 29 miles (47 km) to Washington, GA 72 leads east 15 miles (24 km) to the South Carolina border at Richard B. Russell Lake on the Savannah River and west 35 miles (56 km) to Athens, and GA 77 leads north 18 miles (29 km) to Hartwell and southwest 25 miles (40 km) to Lexington.
Enroll in the Best Physical Therapy Training Program near Elberton GA
Choosing the right physical therapist program is a necessary first decision you must make to start a rewarding career in the healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you decide on should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are other important questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapy program, keep in mind that numerous factors will guide you to your ultimate decision. You may want to visit each of the campuses to view their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me reach 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 options so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the proper training and education, you can accomplish your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Elberton GA.
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