How to Select a Physical Therapy Program near Ellenwood 30294
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Ellenwood GA is a critical first step to beginning a rewarding career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated due to injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the appropriate education and training. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate the ones you are considering to make sure they will deliver a superior education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is choose a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be evaluated besides 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 what the educational options are.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of locations, including Ellenwood GA private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers 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 touched on, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also strive to stop any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Ellenwood GA medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are three physical therapist degrees available for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short descriptions of degree levels that are available in the Ellenwood GA area:
- Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually made available by junior or community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a portion of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to prep candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they generally take 4 years to complete and often incorporate 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 must also 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 commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an intregal component along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in a number of states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer available in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Degrees
While not as common as the more traditional options, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online portion of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Ellenwood GA home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat less than similar on-campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring 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 Therapy Colleges
By now you probably have made a decision regarding some of your preliminary questions, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you intend to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Ellenwood GA area and across Georgia, you’ll need to look into other qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of college options. Furthermore, you want to make sure that you select the program that is ideal for you. That’s why we have collected a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions prior to making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously 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 earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can research a PT school’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with several Ellenwood GA physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your program 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 submitted against the schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapist colleges you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Ellenwood GA area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or even outstanding. It also verifies that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you select provides both superior training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria 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) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapy schools you are reviewing have relationships with Ellenwood GA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Ellenwood health care community and assist with job placement after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor 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 tech program as well.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapist school they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Ellenwood GA residence. 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. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? Most DPT schools supply some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial aid department and find out what kind of aid is offered. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapist college you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Ellenwood GA area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify 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 emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Ellenwood Georgia?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Ellenwood GA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Ellenwood is an unincorporated community in Clayton, Henry, Rockdale County and DeKalb counties in the U.S. state of Georgia. The community is a southeast suburb of Atlanta and is located along Interstate 675 and GA state route 42
Choose the Ideal Physical Therapist School near Ellenwood GA
Choosing the right physical therapist school is an important first decision you must make to launch a rewarding career in the health care field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you decide on should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are additional important questions that you need to ask regarding your school of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapy college, bear in mind that many factors will guide you toward your final decision. You might decide to visit different schools to view their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me reach my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the right choice. And with the proper training and education, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Ellenwood GA.
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