How to Find the Right Physical Therapist Degree Program near Fayetteville 30214
Earning a physical therapy degree near Fayetteville GA is a critical first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated as a result of injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the proper training and education. A PT must also be licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate those you are considering to make certain they will deliver a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is select a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be evaluated besides location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists practice in diverse locations, such as Fayetteville GA private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Fayetteville GA health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather 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 Degree Options
There are three physical therapist degrees available for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are brief explanations of degrees that are offered in the Fayetteville GA area:
- Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are most often offered by community or junior colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically part of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy training to ready students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they normally take four years to finish and usually 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 also must 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 finish, making the overall commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential element along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in some 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. A number of practicing physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Colleges
While not as common as the more traditional alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the program may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Fayetteville GA residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition might be significantly less than similar on campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you probably have come to decision regarding some of your initial questions, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you want to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the Fayetteville GA area and throughout Georgia, you’ll need to look into additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school options. Also, you want to make sure that you choose the school that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Find out if the programs you are considering 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 enroll in an online school, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential 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 recognized accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can investigate a PT program’s reputation, starting 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. Contact a few Fayetteville GA physical therapy centers or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your school options. It might also be a good idea to check with the Georgia Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of useful statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist schools you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Fayetteville GA area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also confirms that the school has a large network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you choose furnishes both superior training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements for Georgia or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapist programs you are assessing have relationships with Fayetteville GA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Fayetteville healthcare community and assist with job placement once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering 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 final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Fayetteville GA home. Students who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college 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 commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Support Provided? Most DPT schools supply some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department and find out what kind of assistance is available. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. A number of physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapist school you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Fayetteville GA area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Fayetteville Georgia?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Fayetteville GA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Fayetteville is a city in Fayette County, Georgia, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 15,945, up from 11,148 at the 2000 census. The city is the county seat of Fayette County. Fayetteville is located 22 miles (35 km) south of downtown Atlanta.
In 2015 the small majority-white city elected its first African-American mayor, Edward Johnson, a retired US navy commander and pastor. In 2011 he was elected as the first black city council member. He was a three-term president of the NAACP.
Fayetteville was founded in 1822 as the seat of the newly formed Fayette County, organized by European Americans from territory ceded by force the Creek people under a treaty with the United States during the early period of Indian removal from the Southeast. Both city and county were named in honor of the Revolutionary War hero the French Marquis de Lafayette. Fayetteville was incorporated as a town in 1823 and as a city in 1909.
Choose the Ideal Physical Therapist Training Program near Fayetteville GA
Picking the ideal physical therapy program is a necessary initial decision you must make to start a gratifying career in the healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you pick should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are additional relevant questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapist school, bear in mind that many factors will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You might want to go to different campuses 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 adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the right selection. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Fayetteville GA.
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