How to Pick a Physical Therapy College near Leesburg 31763
Getting a physical therapy degree near Leesburg GA is an important first step to beginning a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated due to injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the proper education and training. A PT must also become licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate the ones you are looking at to make certain they will provide a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is select a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be considered along with cost and location. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists work in diverse locations, such as Leesburg GA private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to address the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Leesburg GA medical specialists, 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 getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Offered
There are 3 physical therapist degrees offered for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief explanations of degree levels that are available in the Leesburg GA area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may 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 usually provided by community colleges, and require 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training to prep students to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally require 4 years to complete and often include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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 complete, making the overall commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an essential element along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not just for graduation but in a number of states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer attainable in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Schools
While not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapist degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Leesburg GA residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat lower than similar on-campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online option 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 regarding several of your initial questions, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are so many PT colleges within the Leesburg GA area and throughout Georgia, you’ll need to explore other qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of school choices. Also, you need to be sure that you choose the college that is ideal for you. That’s why we have collected a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are considering. Ask each of the competing schools these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Ask if the programs you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As earlier mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you enroll in an online college, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist school and program you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist community. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT college’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 agencies for their reviews also. Contact some Leesburg GA physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your college options. It may 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 two important statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapist schools you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Leesburg GA area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or even excellent. It also verifies that the college has a large network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you enroll in provides both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria 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 program. 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 supplemental tests.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the physical therapist colleges you are evaluating have partnerships with Leesburg GA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Leesburg healthcare community and assist with job placement after licensing.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Leesburg GA home. Those who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry 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 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 often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? Most DPT colleges supply some type of financial aid to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial aid office and see what type of aid is obtainable. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapy college you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Leesburg GA area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Leesburg Georgia?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Leesburg GA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Leesburg is a city in Lee County, Georgia, United States. The population was 2,896 at the 2010 census. The city is the county seat of Lee County and is part of the Albany, Georgia Metropolitan Statistical Area.
The area was an important center for the study of malaria in 1924. A graduate student named Lowell T. Coggeshall collected anopheline larvae in a swamp near Leesburg. Later he helped mastermind the U.S. government's Malaria Project.
Leesburg, originally known as Wooten Station, was founded in 1870 as the Central of Georgia Railway arrived in the area. In 1872, the town was renamed Wooten and the seat was transferred from Starksville. In 1874, the town was incorporated and renamed again to its present form of Leesburg.
Enroll in the Right Physical Therapist Training Program near Leesburg GA
Deciding on the ideal physical therapy college is a necessary first decision you need to make to start a rewarding career in the health care profession. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you choose should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are other critical questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapist program, bear in mind that a number of factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You may decide to visit each of the campuses to see their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me achieve my goal of becoming a practicing licensed 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 choice. And with the proper education and training, you can accomplish your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Leesburg GA.
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