How to Select a Physical Therapist School near Luthersville 30251
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Luthersville GA is an important first step to beginning a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled due to illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the necessary education and training. A PT must also be licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate those you are looking at to make sure they will deliver a quality education and meet your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is choose a school just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be evaluated along with location and cost. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists work in diverse locations, including Luthersville GA private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a course of treatment to address the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Luthersville GA medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are 3 physical therapist degrees offered for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is attainable 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 advance to the doctoral level. Below are short summaries of degrees that are offered in the Luthersville GA area:
- Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are most often provided by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically part of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to prep students to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they generally take 4 years to finish and usually include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement in order to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program also must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to complete, making the overall investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an important element along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in some 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 licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Degrees Online
Although not as prevalent as the more traditional alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined 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 segment of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Luthersville GA residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition may be significantly lower than comparable on campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding some of your initial questions, such as the type of physical therapy degree you intend to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the Luthersville GA area and across Georgia, you’ll have to research other qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of school choices. Also, you want to make sure that you pick the school that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are considering. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Ask if the schools you are considering have earned 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 school, it may 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. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact a few Luthersville GA physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your college selections. It may also be a good idea to check with the Georgia Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist colleges you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Luthersville GA area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or even outstanding. It also confirms that the school has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the program you choose provides both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies 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 therapist program. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapist programs you are evaluating have partnerships with Luthersville GA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Luthersville healthcare community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Luthersville GA home. Students who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT colleges provide some form of financial support to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are considering have a financial aid department and find out what type of aid is available. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapy program you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Luthersville GA area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check 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 may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Luthersville Georgia?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Luthersville GA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
As of the census of 2000, there were 783 people, 273 households, and 205 families residing in the city. The population density was 254.9 people per square mile (98.5/km²). There were 299 housing units at an average density of 97.4 per square mile (37.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 43.93% White, 51.85% African American, 0.89% Native American, 2.43% from other races, and 0.89% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.96% of the population.
There were 273 households out of which 42.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.2% were married couples living together, 21.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.9% were non-families. 20.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.87 and the average family size was 3.31.
In the city, the population was spread out with 32.7% under the age of 18, 10.1% from 18 to 24, 30.7% from 25 to 44, 17.9% from 45 to 64, and 8.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females, there were 87.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.9 males.
Choose the Right Physical Therapist Training Program near Luthersville GA
Selecting the right physical therapy school is a necessary first decision you need to make to start a gratifying career in the healthcare profession. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you select should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are additional critical questions that you need to ask regarding your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist school, bear in mind that numerous variables will guide you to your final decision. You might want to go to different schools to view their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me realize 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 right choice. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Luthersville GA.
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