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

How to Choose a Physical Therapy College near Waleska 30183

Waleska GA physical therapy school student with volunteerEarning a physical therapy degree near Waleska GA is an essential first step to beginning a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated as a result of injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the necessary education and training. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research the ones you are thinking about to make sure they will furnish a quality education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is select a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the lowest 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 address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.

What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?

Waleska GA physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists practice in diverse locations, such as Waleska GA private practices, hospitals, 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 mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a course of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also strive to stop any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Strokes.
  • Cardiac arrest.
  • Sports injuries.
  • Fire injuries.
  • Knee Replacement.
  • Sciatica.
  • Cerebral Palsy.

Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Waleska GA medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering entering 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

Waleska GA physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are 3 physical therapy degree options available for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degrees that are available in the Waleska GA area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually offered by junior or community colleges, and take about two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a portion of the course of study.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist education to prepare candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally require four 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). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the overall investment of time 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential component along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in several states for licensing also.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer attainable in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapy Online Schools

woman attending physical therapy school online in Waleska GAAlthough not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Waleska GA residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition can be somewhat lower than similar on campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.

Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Programs

By now you most likely have come to decision concerning some of your preliminary queries, like the kind of physical therapy degree you intend to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Waleska GA area and across Georgia, you’ll need to research additional qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of school options. Furthermore, you want to be sure that you pick the program that is ideal for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions before making a final decision.

Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited?  Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. 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 enroll in an online college, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the School’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several ways you can investigate a PT program’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Get in touch with several Waleska GA physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your college selections. 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 submitted against the schools.

What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist schools you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Waleska GA area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps excellent. It also confirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment after graduation.

Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you enroll in provides both exceptional training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements for Georgia or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. While licensing requirements fluctuate 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? Inquire if the physical therapy programs you are assessing have relationships with Waleska GA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Waleska health care community and assist with job placement after licensing.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering what the average student to teacher 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 an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.

Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they select will need to be within driving distance of their Waleska GA residence. Individuals who have decided 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 keep 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 might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Support Provided? Most DPT colleges supply some type of financial support to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial assistance department and find out what kind of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. Some physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial aid might be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapist college you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Waleska GA area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Waleska Georgia?

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

Waleska, Georgia

The first white settlement in the Waleska area began in the early 1830s. Among these first pioneer settlers were the Reinhardt, Heard and Rhyne families, who moved into the region looking for fresh, fertile farm land. At first, these settlers lived among the Cherokee population already established in the area, but by 1838 all of the Cherokee had been forced westward to Oklahoma in the U.S. government relocation movement known as the Trail of Tears.

Early settler Lewis W. Reinhardt established a church in 1834 in the settlement known as Reinhardt Chapel and befriended many of the native Cherokee population. When the Trail of Tears forced the movement of Warluskee, the daughter of a local Cherokee chief and friend of Reinhardt's, westward, he named this settlement in her honor (see Funk Heritage Center below).

In 1883, Augustus M. Reinhardt, an Atlanta lawyer, former Confederate captain, and son of one of the founders of Waleska, along with his brother-in-law, former Civil War Lieutenant-Colonel John J. A. Sharp, founded Reinhardt Academy in Waleska for the impoverished children of Cherokee County. This school eventually became Reinhardt University.

Choose the Right Physical Therapy Degree Program near Waleska GA

Deciding on the right physical therapist school is a necessary first decision you must make to launch a rewarding career in the health care field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you select should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. However there are additional critical questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapist program, bear in mind that numerous factors will guide you to your ultimate decision. You may decide to visit different campuses to see their facilities and speak with 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 selection. And with the proper training and education, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Waleska GA.

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