How to Select a Physical Therapist College near Tifton 31793
Obtaining a physical therapy degree near Tifton GA is an important first step to launching a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the proper education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate the ones you are looking at to ensure they will provide a quality 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 nearest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be considered 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 Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of locations, such as Tifton GA private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. 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 experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a course of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Tifton GA medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are three physical therapist degrees available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief explanations of degrees that are available in the Tifton GA area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are most often offered by community or junior colleges, and take about two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally part of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist education to prep candidates to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take 4 years to complete and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want to become a practicing licensed 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 3 years to complete, making the total commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an important component in addition to the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not only 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 available 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 prior to the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Colleges Online
While not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs available, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online portion of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Tifton GA home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat lower than comparable on campus options, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
At this point you probably have come to decision regarding some of your initial questions, including the kind of physical therapy degree you intend to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Tifton GA area and throughout Georgia, you’ll need to explore additional qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of school options. Furthermore, you need to be sure that you select the college that is best for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Ask if the programs you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier 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 select an online college, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can research 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 organizations for their reviews as well. Contact a few Tifton GA physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your school options. It might also be a good idea to contact the Georgia Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two important statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Tifton GA area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even outstanding. It also verifies that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the college you select provides both superior training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria 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) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing have relationships with Tifton GA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Tifton medical community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they select will have to be within driving distance of their Tifton GA home. Those who have decided 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. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally 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 Assistance Provided? The majority of DPT schools offer some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance office and find out what type of aid is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapy college you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Tifton GA area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Tifton Georgia?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Tifton GA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
The area's public schools are administered by the Tift County School District, including two high schools. Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College has its main campus in Tifton. Southern Regional Technical College and the University of Georgia also have Tifton campuses.
Sites in the area include the Coastal Plain Research Arboretum, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, and the Georgia Museum of Agriculture & Historic Village. The Tifton Residential Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Tifton Gazette is published three days a week in Tifton.
Tifton is located in south central Georgia along Interstate 75, which runs north to south through the city, leading north 167 mi (269 km) to Atlanta and south 45 mi (72 km) to Valdosta. Other highways that pass through the city include U.S. Route 41, U.S. Route 82, U.S. Route 319, and Georgia State Route 125.
Enroll in the Right Physical Therapy School near Tifton GA
Picking the right physical therapist school is a necessary first decision you must make to launch a rewarding career in the health care profession. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you select should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are additional critical questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapy school, bear in mind that numerous variables will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You might decide to go to each of the schools to see their facilities and talk with current 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 adhering to our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the right selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Tifton GA.
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