How to Pick a Physical Therapist Program near Thomasville 31757
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Thomasville GA is an essential first step to launching a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled due to illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the proper training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to evaluate those you are thinking about to ensure they will deliver a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is select a school just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be considered besides location and cost. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in varying locations, including Thomasville 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 diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Thomasville GA health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also manage several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapy degrees available for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degree levels that are available in the Thomasville GA area:
- Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually provided by junior or community colleges, and require two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a component of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy education to prep students to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they normally require four years to complete and usually incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required 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). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to finish, making the total commitment seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal component along with the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, 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 available in the United States. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Colleges
While not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy programs available, more so 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 in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Thomasville GA home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition may be significantly less than comparable on-campus options, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
By now you most likely have made a decision regarding several of your initial questions, including the type of physical therapist degree you intend to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Thomasville GA area and throughout Georgia, you’ll need to research other qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of school options. Moreover, you want to be sure that you select the school that is right for you. That’s why we have collected a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Find out if the schools you are looking at 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 select an online school, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with several Thomasville GA physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your school options. It may also be prudent to check with the Georgia Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of important statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapist colleges you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest that students left due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Thomasville 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 broad network of contacts to help students get internships or employment after graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the college you select furnishes both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Georgia or the state where you will be practicing. 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 fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapy programs you are evaluating have partnerships with Thomasville GA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Thomasville healthcare community and assist with job placement after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Thomasville GA home. Those who have decided to attend classes online 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 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 might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? The majority of DPT colleges provide some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are considering have a financial aid office and find out what type of assistance is obtainable. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. Some physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist program you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Thomasville GA area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Thomasville Georgia?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Thomasville GA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
The city deems itself the City of Roses and holds an annual Rose Festival. The city features plantations open to the public, a historic downtown, a large farmer's market, and a 308-year-old oak tree at the corner of Monroe and Crawford streets. The population was 19,340 at the 2013 United States Census.
In 2016, Thomasville was featured as the second best historic small town on USA Today's 10 Best List Reader's Choice after Bisbee (Arizona) but ahead of Abingdon (Virginia), Mackinac Island (Michigan), and Astoria (Oregon).
Thomasville was founded in 1825 as seat of the newly formed Thomas County. It was incorporated as a town in 1831 and as a city in 1889. The community was named for Jett Thomas, a general in the War of 1812.
Choose the Right Physical Therapist School near Thomasville GA
Deciding on the ideal physical therapy school is an important first decision you must make to launch a rewarding career in the medical field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you choose should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. But there are additional critical questions that you need to ask regarding your college of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapy school, bear in mind that numerous factors will guide you to your ultimate decision. You may decide to go to each of the campuses to see their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able 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 practicing physical therapist in Thomasville GA.
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