How to Pick a Physical Therapist Degree Program near Fitzgerald 31750
Receiving a physical therapy degree near Fitzgerald GA is an important first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled as a result of illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the appropriate education and training. A PT must also become licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s important to investigate the ones you are thinking about to make sure they will furnish a superior education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is choose a college just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must 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 the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in diverse settings, such as Fitzgerald GA hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also strive to stop any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Fitzgerald GA health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapy degree options available for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the one degree that is offered to become 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. Below are short explanations of degree levels that are available in the Fitzgerald GA area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are typically made available by community colleges, and take about two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist training to prep students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they generally take four years to finish and often include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated in order to become a licensed practicing 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 investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential element along with the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in a number of 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 offered in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Colleges Online
Although not as prevalent as the on-campus alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, even more 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 close to the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the curriculum can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Fitzgerald GA home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition may be significantly lower than comparable on campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
By now you most likely have made a decision concerning some of your preliminary queries, including the type of physical therapy degree you intend to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Fitzgerald GA area and throughout Georgia, you’ll have to explore additional qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college options. Furthermore, you need to make sure that you select the program that is right for you. That’s why we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Ask if the schools you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As earlier 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 earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy school and program you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can research a PT school’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Call some Fitzgerald GA physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your program options. It may 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 colleges.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of important 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 mean 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 placed in jobs with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Fitzgerald GA area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also verifies that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the college you enroll in provides both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Georgia or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are reviewing have relationships with Fitzgerald GA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Fitzgerald medical community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Fitzgerald GA residence. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program 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 commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Most DPT colleges offer some type of financial aid to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid office and see what kind of assistance is obtainable. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapy program you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Fitzgerald GA area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Fitzgerald Georgia?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Fitzgerald GA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
The city of Fitzgerald is the county seat of Ben Hill County in the U.S. state of Georgia. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 9,053. It is the principal city of the Fitzgerald Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Ben Hill and Irwin counties.
Fitzgerald was developed in 1895 by Philander H. Fitzgerald, an Indianapolis newspaper editor and a former drummer boy in the Union Army, who founded it as a community for Civil War veterans – both from the Union and from the Confederacy. The majority of the first citizens (some 2700) were Union veterans. It was incorporated on December 2, 1896. The town is located less than 15 miles (24 km) from the site of the capture of Confederate president Jefferson Davis on May 10, 1865.
Fitzgerald is one of the few truly planned cities in the United States. The city was laid out as a square, with intersecting streets dividing it into four wards. Each of the wards was divided into four blocks and each block had sixteen squares. The first two streets running North/South on the west side of the city are named after Confederate generals Lee and Johnston, whereas the first two on the east side were named after Union generals Grant and Sherman.
Choose the Right Physical Therapist Training Program near Fitzgerald GA
Selecting the right physical therapist program is a necessary first decision you must make to begin a fulfilling career in the healthcare profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you decide on should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are other relevant questions that you should ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapy school, keep in mind that a number of factors will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You might decide to visit different colleges to see their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the best choice. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Fitzgerald GA.
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