How to Choose a Physical Therapist Degree Program near Clarkesville 30523
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Clarkesville GA is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled due to illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the necessary training and education. A PT must also become licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to investigate those you are considering to ensure they will provide a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is enroll in a school just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be evaluated in addition to cost and location. 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?
Physical therapists practice in diverse settings, such as Clarkesville GA hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also strive to prevent any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Clarkesville GA health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly 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 therapy degrees offered for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degrees that are available in the Clarkesville GA area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically provided by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically part of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy education to prepare candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically require four years to complete and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required in order 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 three years to complete, making the overall investment of time 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an important component in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in some states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced 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 holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Online Colleges
While not as prevalent as the more traditional options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to 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 in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online part of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Clarkesville GA home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition may be significantly lower than similar on campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
By now you probably have made a decision concerning some of your preliminary questions, such as the type of physical therapy degree you intend to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Clarkesville GA area and across Georgia, you’ll need to research other qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school choices. Moreover, you want to make certain that you enroll in the college that is best for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering. Ask all of the potential schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Ask if the schools you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier mentioned, 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 school, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy school and program you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact some Clarkesville GA physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your program selections. It might also be a good idea to check with the Georgia Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest that students left due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Clarkesville GA area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also affirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the school you choose provides both excellent training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria for Georgia or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the physical therapy schools you are reviewing have associations with Clarkesville GA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent 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 help students and graduates form professional relationships in the Clarkesville healthcare community and assist with job placement after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Clarkesville GA home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Support Offered? Most DPT colleges supply some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have a financial aid department and see what kind of aid is offered. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapist school you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Clarkesville GA area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Clarkesville Georgia?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Clarkesville GA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Clarkesville is located in central Habersham County at 34°36′38″N 83°31′30″W / 34.61056°N 83.52500°W / 34.61056; -83.52500 (34.610521, -83.525056), on the south side of the Soquee River, a southwest-flowing tributary of the Chattahoochee River. It is 4 miles (6 km) north of Demorest, 15 miles (24 km) east of Cleveland, 13 miles (21 km) west of Toccoa, and 13 miles southwest of Tallulah Falls.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.49 square miles (6.45 km2), of which 2.46 square miles (6.37 km2) are land and 0.03 square miles (0.08 km2), or 1.20%, are water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,248 people, 580 households, and 335 families residing in the city. The population density was 670.6 people per square mile (259.1/km²). There were 639 housing units at an average density of 343.3 per square mile (132.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.06% White, 7.77% African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.72% Asian, 0.32% from other races, and 0.96% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.36% of the population.
Select the Ideal Physical Therapist Training Program near Clarkesville GA
Picking the ideal physical therapist school is an important first decision you must make to launch a rewarding career in the health care profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you decide on should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are additional relevant questions that you need to ask regarding your school of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapy school, bear in mind that a number of factors will guide you toward your final decision. You might want to visit different colleges to view their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me realize 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 field so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Clarkesville GA.
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