How to Enroll In a Physical Therapy College near Lincolnton 30817
Getting a physical therapist degree near Lincolnton GA is an essential first step to launching a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled as a result of illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the proper education and training. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate those you are thinking about to make sure they will provide a quality education and meet your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is enroll in a school just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be evaluated in addition to cost and location. But before we talk about 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 Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists work in a variety of settings, including Lincolnton GA private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a program of treatment to address the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Lincolnton GA medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to take note of for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are three physical therapy degree options offered for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are brief explanations of degree levels that are offered in the Lincolnton GA area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are usually made available by community or junior colleges, and take about two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed 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 first step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally require 4 years to complete and often incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want to become a practicing licensed physical therapist. The degree program also must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the total commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal component in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in some states for licensing also.
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 attainable in the United States. A number of practicing 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 Therapist Programs Online
While not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Lincolnton GA residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition can be significantly lower than comparable on-campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
At this point you most likely have made a decision regarding a few of your preliminary queries, like the type of physical therapist degree you would like to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Lincolnton GA area and across Georgia, you’ll have to explore other qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college choices. Moreover, you want to make sure that you choose the college that is best for you. That’s why we have put together a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are considering. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. 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 choose an online college, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapist program and school you select are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with ensuring 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 Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can research a PT college’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Contact a few Lincolnton 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 prudent to check with the Georgia Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of useful statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Lincolnton GA area? If a program 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 verifies that the school has a large network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the school you select furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapy schools you are interested in have associations with Lincolnton GA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Lincolnton healthcare community and help with job placement after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student 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 talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Lincolnton GA residence. Students who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically 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 Help Offered? Most DPT colleges offer some type of financial aid to their prospective students. Find out if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid department and see what type of aid is offered. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapist program you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Lincolnton GA area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours 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 Lincolnton Georgia?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Lincolnton GA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
The city of Lincolnton is the county seat of Lincoln County, Georgia, United States. The population was 1,566 at the 2010 census. It is the location for the historical site, Elijah Clark State Park, and contains numerous houses and historic districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Both the city and the county were named for General Benjamin Lincoln, who served in the Continental Army during the American Revolution.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,595 people, 657 households, and 428 families residing in the city. The population density was 498.6 people per square mile (192.4/km²). There were 657 housing units at an average density of 205.4 per square mile (79.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 56.80% White, 42.19% Black, 0.06% American Indian, 0.38% Asian, 0.13% from other races, and 0.44% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.13% of the population.
There were 610 households out of which 32.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.8% were married couples living together, 22.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.8% were non-families. 27.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.05.
Select the Ideal Physical Therapist College near Lincolnton GA
Selecting the best physical therapy school is an important initial decision you must make to start a fulfilling career in the health care field. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you enroll in should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. But there are additional relevant questions that you should ask regarding your college of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapy school, bear in mind that numerous variables will lead you toward your final decision. You might decide to visit each of the schools to view their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the best selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can achieve your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Lincolnton GA.
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