How to Choose a Physical Therapist College near Macon 31201
Earning a physical therapist degree near Macon GA is a critical first step to launching a rewarding career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled as a result of illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the necessary training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research the ones you are considering to make certain they will furnish a quality education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be considered along with cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists work in varying locations, such as Macon GA private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all have 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 often pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they design a program of treatment to address the mobility issues and reduce 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:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Macon GA medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Offered
There are 3 physical therapy degrees available for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short summaries of degrees that are available in the Macon GA area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are most often made available by community or junior colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy education to ready students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be eligible 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 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to finish, making the overall investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal element along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in some states for licensing also.
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 having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Schools
While not as prevalent as the on-campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, even more 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 near the school campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Macon GA residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition may be somewhat lower than similar on-campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
At this point you probably have come to decision concerning some of your preliminary queries, like the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Macon GA area and across Georgia, you’ll have to explore other qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college choices. Moreover, you need to be sure that you pick the school that is best for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are thinking about. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Find out if the programs you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. 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 essential that both the physical therapist program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can research a PT college’s reputation, beginning with asking for 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 several Macon GA physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your program options. It might also be a good idea to contact the Georgia Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of useful statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapist colleges you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students left because of dissatisfaction 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 Macon GA area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also affirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you enroll in furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria 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 school. 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 additional exams.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapist schools you are evaluating have associations with Macon GA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help graduates and students develop professional connections in the Macon health care community and help with job placement after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. 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 pharmacy technician program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Macon GA residence. Students who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? The majority of DPT colleges provide some form of financial support to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are examining have a financial assistance department and find out what type of help is available. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist program you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Macon GA area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Macon Georgia?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Macon GA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Macon (/ˈmeɪkən/), officially Macon–Bibb County, is a consolidated city-county located in the state of Georgia, United States. Macon lies near the geographic center of the state, approximately 85 miles (137 km) south of Atlanta, hence the city's nickname "The Heart of Georgia."
Located near the fall line of the Ocmulgee River, Macon is the county seat of Bibb County and had a 2017 estimated population of 152,663. Macon is the principal city of the Macon metropolitan area, which had an estimated population of 228,914 in 2017. Macon is also the largest city in the Macon–Warner Robins Combined Statistical Area (CSA), a larger trading area with an estimated 420,693 residents in 2017; the CSA abuts the Atlanta metropolitan area just to the north.
In a 2012 referendum, voters approved the consolidation of Macon and Bibb County, and Macon became Georgia's fourth-largest city (just after Columbus). The two governments officially merged on January 1, 2014.
Enroll in the Best Physical Therapy Degree Program near Macon GA
Picking the best physical therapy school is a necessary initial decision you need to make to start a rewarding career in the medical field. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you enroll in should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. However there are other important questions that you should ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapy program, bear in mind that numerous variables will lead you toward your final decision. You may decide to go to each of the schools to view their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the best choice. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Macon GA.
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