How to Pick a Physical Therapy School near Milledgeville 31061
Getting a physical therapist degree near Milledgeville GA is a critical first step to launching a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated due to illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate those you are thinking about to ensure they will deliver a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be considered in addition to location and cost. But before we discuss 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 settings, such as Milledgeville GA hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Milledgeville GA health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are three physical therapy degrees offered for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief descriptions of degree levels that are offered in the Milledgeville GA area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually offered by community colleges, and take about two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to prep students to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically require 4 years to finish and often incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated in order to become a licensed practicing 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 the majority of cases. Clinical training is an important component in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in a number of 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 eliminated and is no longer offered in the United States. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Schools
Although not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist degrees available, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the school campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online portion of the curriculum can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Milledgeville GA home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition may be somewhat less than similar on campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding a few of your initial questions, including the type of physical therapy degree you would like to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Milledgeville GA area and across Georgia, you’ll have to research other qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of school options. Also, you want to be sure that you enroll in the school that is right for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier 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 college, it may also obtain 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, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Reputation? Along with 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, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with a few Milledgeville GA physical therapy centers or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your college selections. It might also be prudent to check with 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 Percentage? There are a two relevant statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Milledgeville GA area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or even excellent. It also affirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you choose provides both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for Georgia or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the physical therapy programs you are assessing have partnerships with Milledgeville GA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Milledgeville healthcare community and assist with job placement after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are considering what the typical 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 an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Milledgeville GA home. Students who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you decide 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 usually 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 Help Offered? The majority of DPT schools offer some form of financial support to their prospective students. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance office and see what type of help is offered. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapist school you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Milledgeville GA area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Milledgeville Georgia?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Milledgeville GA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Milledgeville is a city in and the county seat of Baldwin County in the U.S. state of Georgia. It is northeast of Macon and bordered on the east by the Oconee River. The rapid current of the river here made this an attractive location to build a city. It was the capital of Georgia from 1804 to 1868, notably during the American Civil War. Milledgeville was preceded as the capital city by Louisville and was succeeded by Atlanta, the current capital. Today U.S. Highway 441 connects Milledgeville to Madison, Athens, and Dublin.
Milledgeville is along the route of the Fall Line Freeway, which is under construction to link Milledgeville with Augusta, Macon, Columbus, and other Fall Line cities. They have long histories from the colonial era of Georgia.
Milledgeville is the principal city of the Milledgeville Micropolitan Statistical Area, a micropolitan area that includes Baldwin and Hancock counties. It had a combined population of 54,776 at the 2000 census. The Old State Capitol is located here; it was added to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). Much of the original city is contained within the boundaries of the Milledgeville Historic District, which was also added to the NRHP.
Enroll in the Best Physical Therapist Degree Program near Milledgeville GA
Choosing the best physical therapist program is a necessary first decision you have to make to begin a gratifying career in the health care profession. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you choose should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are other critical questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist college, keep in mind that many variables will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might want to go to different schools to view their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me reach my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to 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 fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Milledgeville GA.
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