How to Enroll In a Physical Therapy Degree Program near Savannah 31401
Obtaining a physical therapy degree near Savannah GA is an important first step to starting a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled due to illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the proper training and education. A PT must also become licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to investigate the ones you are thinking about to make sure they will supply a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is enroll in a school just because it happens to be the nearest 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 what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in varying settings, such as Savannah 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 the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a course of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Savannah GA health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Offered
There are three physical therapy degree options offered for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the one degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degree levels that are offered in the Savannah GA area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are usually offered by junior or community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally part of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to prep candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they normally take 4 years to complete and commonly incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want 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 seven 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 required, not just for graduation but in several 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 attainable in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Degrees Online
While not as common 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, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Savannah GA home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat lower than comparable on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
At this point you most likely have made a decision regarding several of your preliminary questions, like the type of physical therapy degree you would like to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Savannah GA area and throughout Georgia, you’ll have to look into other qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of college choices. Also, you need to make certain that you select the program that is best for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering. Ask each of the competing schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As previously stated, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online program, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT school’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Call a few Savannah GA physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your program options. It might also be prudent 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 College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two relevant statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist schools you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students left due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Savannah GA area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or even outstanding. It also affirms that the college has a large network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the program you enroll in furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that supports 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapy programs you are interested in have relationships with Savannah GA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Savannah healthcare community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Savannah GA residence. Those who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT schools offer some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of aid is obtainable. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapy college you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Savannah GA area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need 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 Savannah Georgia?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Savannah GA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Savannah (/səˈvænə/) is the oldest city in the U.S. state of Georgia and is the county seat of Chatham County. Established in 1733 on the Savannah River, the city of Savannah became the British colonial capital of the Province of Georgia and later the first state capital of Georgia. A strategic port city in the American Revolution and during the American Civil War, Savannah is today an industrial center and an important Atlantic seaport. It is Georgia's fifth-largest city and third-largest metropolitan area.
Each year Savannah attracts millions of visitors to its cobblestone streets, parks, and notable historic buildings: the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low (founder of the Girl Scouts of the USA), the Georgia Historical Society (the oldest continually operating historical society in the South), the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences (one of the South's first public museums), the First African Baptist Church (one of the oldest African-American Baptist congregations in the United States), Temple Mickve Israel (the third oldest synagogue in America), and the Central of Georgia Railway roundhouse complex (the oldest standing antebellum rail facility in America).
Savannah's downtown area, which includes the Savannah Historic District, the Savannah Victorian Historic District, and 22 parklike squares, is one of the largest National Historic Landmark Districts in the United States (designated by the U.S. government in 1966).[a] Downtown Savannah largely retains the original town plan prescribed by founder James Oglethorpe (a design now known as the Oglethorpe Plan). Savannah was the host city for the sailing competitions during the 1996 Summer Olympics held in Atlanta.
Select the Best Physical Therapy School near Savannah GA
Deciding on the best physical therapist college is a necessary initial decision you must make to begin a rewarding career in the healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you enroll in should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are other critical questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapy college, keep in mind that numerous variables will guide you to your ultimate decision. You might decide to visit different schools to view their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me reach 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 options so you can make the ideal choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Savannah GA.
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