How to Find the Right Physical Therapy Degree Program near Chickamauga 30707
Getting a physical therapist degree near Chickamauga GA is an important first step to launching a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled due to illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the proper training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to investigate those you are looking at to make certain they will provide a superior education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be considered in addition to cost and location. But before we talk about 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 Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists practice in diverse settings, such as Chickamauga GA private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Chickamauga GA medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapy degree options available for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief explanations of degree levels that are offered in the Chickamauga GA area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as 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 qualify for enrollment. The degrees are usually provided by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually part of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy education to prepare candidates to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take four years to finish and commonly include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required in order to become a practicing licensed 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 finish, making the overall commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an essential element in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in several states for licensing as well.
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 available 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 current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Colleges Online
Although not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapy programs available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Chickamauga GA home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat less than comparable on campus options, and costs for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
At this point you probably have made a decision concerning some of your preliminary queries, such as the type of physical therapist degree you want to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the Chickamauga GA area and throughout Georgia, you’ll need to look into additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school options. Also, you need to be sure that you pick the college that is best for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Find out if the programs you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As earlier mentioned, 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 school, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can research a PT college’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 agencies for their reviews as well. Contact some Chickamauga GA physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your school options. It might also be a good idea to contact the Georgia Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Chickamauga GA area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or even exceptional. It also verifies that the school has a broad network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you enroll in furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements for Georgia or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapist programs you are evaluating have relationships with Chickamauga GA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Chickamauga healthcare community and assist with job placement once licensed.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they select will need to be within driving distance of their Chickamauga GA residence. Those who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Most DPT colleges supply some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are examining have a financial assistance office and find out what type of help is offered. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapy program you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Chickamauga GA area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Chickamauga Georgia?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Chickamauga GA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Before the 1800s, the Chickamauga-Cherokee settled around Chickamauga Creek, where they farmed and hunted the lands. They stayed there until their forced exodus during the Trail of Tears (1838). In the early to mid-19th century, the present town of Chickamauga was a large plantation in the rolling hills of north Georgia. When the Cherokee Nation was divided into districts and courts in 1820, Crawfish Springs was made the capital of the new Chickamauga District. After the Cherokee removal, the first court in Walker County was held there in the former Cherokee courthouse. The local post office was Crawfish Springs.
During the War of 1812, 500 Cherokee warriors from the area fought alongside General Andrew Jackson at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, against the Creek Indians, who were aligned with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The battle ended in a victory for the Americans.
The Lee and Gordon families greatly influenced Chickamauga's post-Cherokee history. In 1836 Gwinnett County native James Gordon established a plantation at Crawfish Springs and built a grist mill two miles east of town, on Chickamauga Creek. Lee and Gordon's Mill, which contained the area's first general store, was situated near a blacksmith shop and stagecoach stop. From 1840 to 1847, Gordon built his Doric-columned brick house (known today as the Gordon-Lee Mansion), which overlooks Crawfish Springs.
Choose the Ideal Physical Therapist College near Chickamauga GA
Picking the best physical therapy program is an important initial decision you need to make to launch a fulfilling career in the health care field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you enroll in should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. However there are additional relevant questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapy college, bear in mind that numerous factors will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You may decide to go to different colleges to view their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the best selection. And with the proper training and education, you can accomplish your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Chickamauga GA.
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