How to Find the Right Physical Therapist College near Gainesville 30501
Obtaining a physical therapy degree near Gainesville GA is a critical first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated as a result of injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the appropriate training and education. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to investigate the ones you are looking at to make certain they will provide a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is enroll in a college just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be evaluated along with cost and location. But before we discuss 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 Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in a variety of settings, such as Gainesville 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 earlier stated, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to prevent any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Gainesville GA medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are three physical therapist degrees offered for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief descriptions of degree levels that are offered in the Gainesville GA area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are usually provided by community colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist training to prepare students to progress 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 typically require four years to complete and commonly incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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 investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an intregal element in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently 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 eliminated and is no longer available in the USA. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Degrees Online
Although not as common as the more traditional options, there are some accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the program may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Gainesville GA home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition can be significantly less than comparable on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding several of your initial queries, like the type of physical therapist degree you would like to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Gainesville GA area and across Georgia, you’ll need to look into additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college options. Furthermore, you want to make sure that you enroll in the college that is best for you. That’s why we have collected a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are considering. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Find out if the programs you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. 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 choose an online college, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not just the school. Also, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT program’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Call several Gainesville GA physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your program selections. It may also be a good idea to contact the Georgia Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist colleges you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Gainesville GA area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also verifies that the college has a large network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the program you choose provides both superior training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements for Georgia or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapy colleges you are evaluating have partnerships with Gainesville GA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Gainesville medical community and assist with job placement after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. 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 opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Gainesville GA home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry 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 school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT schools provide some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at have a financial aid office and see what type of aid is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapy school you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Gainesville GA area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure 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 Gainesville Georgia?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Gainesville GA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
The city of Gainesville is the county seat of Hall County, Georgia, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 33,804. By 2015 the population had risen to an estimated 38,712. Because of its large number of poultry processing plants, it is often called the "Poultry Capital of the World". Gainesville is the principal city of, and is included in, the Gainesville, Georgia Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Gainesville, Georgia Combined Statistical Area.
Gainesville was established as "Mule Camp Springs" by European-American settlers in the early 1800s. Less than three years after the organization of Hall County on December 15, 1818, Mule Camp Springs was renamed "Gainesville" on April 21, 1821. It was named in honor of General Edmund P. Gaines, a hero of the War of 1812 and a noted military surveyor and road-builder. Gainesville was selected to be the county seat and chartered by the Georgia General Assembly on November 30, 1821.
A gold rush that began in nearby Lumpkin County in the 1830s resulted in an increase in the number of settlers and the beginning of a business community. In the middle of the 19th century, Gainesville had two important events. In 1849, it became established as a resort center, with people attracted to the springs. In 1851, much of the small city was destroyed by fire.
Select the Ideal Physical Therapist College near Gainesville GA
Picking the right physical therapy program is an important first decision you need to make to begin a rewarding career in the healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you pick should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are other critical questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapy college, bear in mind that a number of factors will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You might decide to visit different schools to view their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me accomplish 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 options so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the proper training and education, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Gainesville GA.
A Few More Interesting Locations in Georgia
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