How to Enroll In a Physical Therapy Training Program near Oconee 31067
Getting a physical therapy degree near Oconee GA is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated due to illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the necessary education and training. A PT must also be licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate those you are considering to ensure they will provide a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is choose a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be considered in addition to location and cost. But before we discuss 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 is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists practice in diverse settings, including Oconee GA private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped 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 illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also strive to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Oconee GA medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
There are 3 physical therapy degrees offered for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is attainable to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are brief summaries of degrees that are available in the Oconee GA area:
- Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are usually made available by community colleges, and require two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy education to prep students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take four years to finish and commonly include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement if you want to become a practicing licensed 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 three years to finish, making the total investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical training is an important element along with the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in several 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 USA. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Colleges Online
Although not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the school campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online part of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Oconee GA home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition can be significantly lower than similar on-campus options, and costs for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
By now you probably have come to decision concerning a few of your preliminary queries, including the type of physical therapy degree you would like to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the Oconee GA area and across Georgia, you’ll need to explore additional qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of school options. Also, you want to make certain that you select the school that is best for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As previously 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 college, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can research a PT school’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Contact some Oconee GA physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your school selections. It may also be a good idea to check with the Georgia Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two useful statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapy schools you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, 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 Oconee GA area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also affirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the college you enroll in provides both exceptional training and a course of study 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 fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the physical therapy schools you are reviewing have relationships with Oconee GA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Oconee medical community and help with job placement after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Oconee GA home. Individuals who have decided 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 bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Support Offered? Most DPT colleges supply some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and find out what type of help is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapist program you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Oconee GA area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Oconee Georgia?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Oconee GA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Oconee County, Georgia
Oconee County was created from the southwestern part of Clarke County in 1875 by the Georgia General Assembly. The new county was created to satisfy southwestern Clarke County residents' demand for their own county after the county seat was moved from Watkinsville to Athens by the General Assembly in 1872. It is named for the river flowing along part of its eastern border.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 186 square miles (480 km2), of which 184 square miles (480 km2) is land and 2.1 square miles (5.4 km2) (1.1%) is water. The entirety of Oconee County is located in the Upper Oconee River sub-basin of the Altamaha River basin.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 32,808 people, 11,622 households, and 9,346 families residing in the county. The population density was 178.0 inhabitants per square mile (68.7/km2). There were 12,383 housing units at an average density of 67.2 per square mile (25.9/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 88.4% white, 5.0% black or African American, 3.1% Asian, 0.1% American Indian, 2.0% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 4.4% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 19.9% were English, 14.7% were American, 13.3% were Irish, and 12.2% were German.
Select the Right Physical Therapist Training Program near Oconee GA
Picking the best physical therapy program is an important first decision you have to make to launch a gratifying career in the medical field. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you decide on should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. But there are additional relevant questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapy school, bear in mind that many factors will lead you to your final 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 accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the ideal selection. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Oconee GA.
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