Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – Lakeland GA

How to Select a Physical Therapy Training Program near Lakeland 31635

Lakeland GA physical therapy school student with volunteerReceiving a physical therapy degree near Lakeland GA is an essential first step to launching a fulfilling career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated due to injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the necessary education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to evaluate the ones you are considering to ensure they will deliver a superior education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is choose a college just 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 what the educational options are.

What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?

Lakeland GA physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists work in diverse locations, including Lakeland GA hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a program of treatment to address the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to stop any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Strokes.
  • Heart attacks.
  • Sports injuries.
  • Fire injuries.
  • Hip Replacement.
  • Sciatica.
  • Multiple Sclerosis.

Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Lakeland GA health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degree Options

Lakeland GA physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are 3 physical therapist degree options offered for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short descriptions of degrees that are offered in the Lakeland 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 GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are usually provided by community or junior colleges, and require two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically part of the course of study.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist training to prep candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally require 4 years to complete and usually incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are required 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 three years to complete, making the total investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an important component along with the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in some 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 offered in the United States. A number of practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapy Online Programs

woman attending physical therapy school online in Lakeland GAAlthough not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the school campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online part of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Lakeland GA home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition might be somewhat lower than comparable on-campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the ideal 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 made a decision regarding some of your preliminary questions, including the kind of physical therapy degree you intend to obtain, where you prefer 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 Lakeland GA area and across Georgia, you’ll need to research additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of college options. Moreover, you need to make certain that you enroll in the college that is ideal for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited?  Ask if the schools you are reviewing have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As previously stated, 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 enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for securing 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 exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Call some Lakeland GA physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your school selections. It may also be prudent to contact the Georgia Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.

What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two important statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapy colleges you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students left 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 help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Lakeland GA area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even outstanding. It also verifies that the college has a wide network of contacts to help students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you choose furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that satisfies 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 therapist program. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are assessing have relationships with Lakeland GA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to get 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 assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Lakeland health care community and help with job placement once licensed.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are looking at 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 final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.

Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy school they select will have to be within driving distance of their Lakeland GA home. Those who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something 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 may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.

Is Financial Aid Offered? The majority of DPT colleges provide some form of financial support to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are considering have a financial assistance department and see what kind of assistance is available. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid may be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapy program you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Lakeland GA area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Lakeland Georgia?

If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Lakeland GA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.

Lakeland, Georgia

Lakeland is a city in Lanier County, Georgia, United States. The city is the county seat of Lanier County.[4] It is part of the Valdosta, Georgia Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 2,730 at the 2000 census.

Originally called Alapaha and then Milltown or Mill Town, Lakeland received its current name in 1925 in honor of its proximity to Grand Bay Lake, Lake Irma, and Banks Lake.[5] For many years, Lakeland owned and operated its own railroad.

Numerous festivals are held in the county throughout each year, one of which is the Flatlanders Frolic Arts and Crafts Show. This event features bluegrass music, a road race and various other Labor Day weekend events. Also held in Lanier County is the Living Murals Celebration, held in the spring, and most recently the Georgia Deep Woods Deerfest, a festival featuring wild game suppers and firearms giveaways.

Enroll in the Ideal Physical Therapist School near Lakeland GA

Picking the best physical therapy college is an important initial decision you must make to begin a fulfilling career in the healthcare profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you select should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are additional relevant questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapy college, keep in mind that a number of variables will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You might want to visit each of the colleges to see their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the right selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Lakeland GA.

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