How to Select a Physical Therapist Program near Watkinsville 30677
Obtaining a physical therapy degree near Watkinsville GA is an essential first step to launching a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled due to illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the proper training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to investigate 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 enroll in a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be evaluated in addition to cost and location. But before we discuss 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 diverse settings, such as Watkinsville GA private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Watkinsville GA health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy profession, it is quite 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 3 physical therapist degree options offered for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the one degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus 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 offered in the Watkinsville GA area:
- Associate Degrees train 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 typically made available by junior or community colleges, and require two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training to ready students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally require 4 years to finish and often include an internship program of at least 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 most cases. Clinical training is an important component in addition to the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in several states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer offered in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Colleges Online
Although not as prevalent as the on-campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online portion of the program may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Watkinsville GA residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition can be significantly less than comparable on-campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the ideal 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 come to decision regarding several of your preliminary questions, like the type of physical therapy degree you want to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the Watkinsville GA area and throughout Georgia, you’ll need to look into additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Also, you want to make sure that you pick the school that is ideal for you. That’s why we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are considering. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Find out if the programs you are reviewing have earned 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 choose an online program, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist program and school you select are accredited, not just the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT college’s reputation, starting 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 organizations for their reviews as well. Call several Watkinsville GA physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your program options. It may also be prudent to contact the Georgia Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After 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 Watkinsville GA area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also verifies that the school has a wide network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the college you choose furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria for Georgia or the state where you will be working. 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 vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapist schools you are evaluating have relationships with Watkinsville GA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Watkinsville health care community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are researching what the average 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 several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Watkinsville GA home. Students who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something 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 be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? The majority of DPT colleges provide some type of financial aid to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have a financial aid department and see what type of aid is available. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapist program you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Watkinsville GA area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Watkinsville Georgia?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Watkinsville GA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Watkinsville is the largest city and seat of Oconee County, Georgia, United States. As of the 2010 census, the town had a total population of 2,832. It served as the seat of Clarke County until 1872 when the county seat of that county was moved to Athens, a move which ultimately led to the creation of Oconee County in 1875. It is included in the Athens-Clarke County, Georgia Metropolitan Statistical Area.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,097 people, 827 households, and 578 families residing in the town. The population density was 650.6 people per square mile (251.4/km²). There were 862 housing units at an average density of 267.4 per square mile (103.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 89.08% White, 7.34% African American, 0.05% Native American, 1.62% Asian, 0.48% Pacific Islander, 0.86% from other races, and 0.57% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.96% of the population.
There were 827 households out of which 36.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.6% were married couples living together, 12.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.1% were non-families. 24.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 2.99.
Pick the Right Physical Therapist College near Watkinsville GA
Selecting the ideal physical therapy college is an important initial decision you must make to launch a fulfilling career in the healthcare profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you pick should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are other relevant questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapy school, bear in mind that many variables will lead you to your ultimate decision. You may want to visit different schools to view their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me achieve my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the right choice. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Watkinsville GA.
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