How to Choose a Physical Therapist College near Decatur 30030
Earning a physical therapist degree near Decatur GA is an important first step to launching a fulfilling career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled as a result of 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 appropriate training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research those you are looking at to ensure they will supply a superior education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is choose 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 must be evaluated along with cost and location. But before we discuss 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 work in varying locations, such as Decatur 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 diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Decatur GA health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone considering going 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 Offered
There are three physical therapy degrees available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degrees that are available in the Decatur GA area:
- Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are usually made available by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to prepare students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they normally require 4 years to finish and often include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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 3 years to complete, making the total investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical training is an important element in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in some 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 phased out and is no longer offered in the United States. A number of 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 Therapy Online Colleges
While not as prevalent as the more traditional options, there are many accredited online physical therapist programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the program may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Decatur GA residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition might be significantly less than similar on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
By now you most likely have made a decision concerning several of your initial questions, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you want to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Decatur GA area and throughout Georgia, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of school choices. Moreover, you want to be sure that you select the college that is right for you. That’s why we have collected a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are considering. Ask all of the potential schools these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Find out if the schools you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As previously stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you select an online program, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call several Decatur GA physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any advice 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 Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapy schools you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest 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 placed in jobs with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Decatur GA area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also confirms that the school has a large network of contacts to help students get internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the school you enroll in provides both exceptional training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements for Georgia or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are reviewing have associations with Decatur GA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Decatur health care community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Decatur GA residence. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even 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 commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT colleges offer some form of financial support to their potential students. Find out if the colleges you are considering have a financial assistance department and see what type of help is available. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. Some physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapy program you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Decatur GA area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Decatur Georgia?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Decatur GA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Decatur is a city in, and the county seat of, DeKalb County, Georgia that is part of the Atlanta metropolitan area. With a population of 20,148 in the 2013 census, the municipality is sometimes assumed to be larger since multiple zip codes in unincorporated DeKalb County bear the Decatur name. The city is served by three MARTA rail stations. The city is located approximately 5 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta and shares its western border with Atlanta.
Decatur was established at the intersection of two Native American trails: the Sandtown, which led east from the Chattahoochee River at Utoy Creek, and the Shallowford, which follows today's Clairmont Road, and eventually crossed near Roswell. It was named for United States Navy Commodore Stephen Decatur.
During the American Civil War, Decatur became a strategic site in Sherman's Atlanta Campaign. In July 1864, Major-General James McPherson occupied the town to cut off the Confederates' supply line from Augusta. On July 22, during the Battle of Atlanta, Confederate cavalry under Major-General Joseph Wheeler attacked McPherson's supply wagons and the Union troops left to defend the wagons. A historical marker at the old courthouse marks the site of this skirmish.
Enroll in the Ideal Physical Therapist School near Decatur GA
Picking the ideal physical therapy program is an important initial decision you must make to launch a gratifying career in the healthcare profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you pick should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. But there are additional relevant questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapist college, bear in mind that many variables will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You may decide to visit different colleges to view their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the best choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Decatur GA.
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