How to Enroll In a Physical Therapist Training Program near Columbus 31901
Getting a physical therapy degree near Columbus GA is a critical first step to beginning a rewarding career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated due to injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the proper education and training. A PT must also be licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate those you are looking at to make certain they will supply a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is enroll in a college 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 along with location and cost. 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 what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists work in varying settings, such as Columbus GA private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to stop any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Columbus GA medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Offered
There are three physical therapist degrees offered for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is attainable 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 advance to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degrees that are available in the Columbus GA area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are most often made available by community colleges, and require two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy education to ready candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally take 4 years to complete and usually incorporate 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 must also 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 total investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical training is an important element in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not just 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 attainable in the USA. A number of practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Degrees
Although not as common as the on-campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapist 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 convenience and comfort of the student’s Columbus GA home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition can be significantly less than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
At this point you probably have made a decision regarding a few of your initial questions, including the kind of physical therapist 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 so many PT colleges within the Columbus GA area and throughout Georgia, you’ll have to explore other qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of school choices. Also, you want to make sure that you pick the college that is right for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing schools these questions before making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Ask if the programs you are considering have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As previously 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 school, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with some Columbus GA physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your program options. It might also be prudent to contact 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 Rate? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapist programs you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Columbus GA area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even exceptional. It also confirms that the school has a large network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you select provides both superior training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Georgia or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the physical therapy schools you are interested in have partnerships with Columbus GA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to receive practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Columbus medical community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are looking at what the typical 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 a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist school they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Columbus GA residence. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school 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 often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Most DPT colleges supply some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department and see what kind of help is available. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapy college you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Columbus GA area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check 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 may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Columbus Georgia?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Columbus GA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Columbus is a consolidated city-county in the west central U.S. state of Georgia. Located on the Chattahoochee River directly across from Phenix City, Alabama, Columbus is the county seat of Muscogee County, with which it officially merged in 1970. Columbus is the third-largest city in Georgia and the fourth-largest metropolitan area. According to the 2017 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, Columbus has a population of 194,058 residents, with 303,811 in the greater Columbus–Phenix City metropolitan area. The metro area joins the nearby Alabama cities of Auburn and Opelika to form the Columbus–Auburn–Opelika Combined Statistical Area, which has a 2017 estimated population of 499,128.
Columbus lies 100 miles (160 km) southwest of Atlanta. Fort Benning, the United States Army's Maneuver Center of Excellence and a major employer, is located south of the city in Chattahoochee County. Columbus is home to museums and tourism sites, including the National Infantry Museum, dedicated to the United States Army's Infantry Branch. It has the longest urban whitewater rafting course in the world constructed on the Chattahoochee River.
This was for centuries and more the traditional territory of the Creek Indians, who became known as one of the Five Civilized Tribes of the Southeast after European contact. Those who lived closest to white-occupied areas conducted considerable trading and adopted some European-American ways.
Select the Ideal Physical Therapy School near Columbus GA
Choosing the right physical therapy college is an important first decision you have to make to begin a gratifying career in the health care field. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you pick should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are other important questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist college, bear in mind that many factors will lead you toward your final decision. You might want to visit different schools to view their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me realize 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 options so you can make the ideal selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Columbus GA.
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