How to Choose a Physical Therapy School near Toccoa 30577
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Toccoa GA is an essential first step to starting a fulfilling career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated due to injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the proper education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research those you are considering to ensure they will deliver a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is choose a college just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be evaluated besides location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in diverse locations, including Toccoa GA hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Toccoa GA health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often 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 three physical therapist degrees offered for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degrees that are available in the Toccoa GA area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to be physical therapy assistants, or can 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 most often provided by community or junior colleges, and take about two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally part of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy education to prepare candidates to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally require four years to finish and commonly include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the overall investment of time seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an important component in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not just 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 eliminated and is no longer available in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Colleges Online
While not as common as the more traditional options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees available, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online part of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Toccoa GA home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition can be somewhat lower than similar on campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits may 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
By now you probably have come to decision regarding a few of your preliminary queries, including the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Toccoa GA area and across Georgia, you’ll need to explore additional qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of college options. Furthermore, you want to make sure that you choose the college that is best for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are considering. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As earlier stated, 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 program, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist program and school you select are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Contact several Toccoa GA physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your school 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 filed against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapy schools you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students left because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Toccoa GA area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also verifies that the program has a large network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you choose furnishes both superior training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Georgia or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are evaluating have associations with Toccoa GA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Toccoa medical community and assist with job placement once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are researching what the average teacher to student 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 speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Toccoa GA home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally 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 Assistance Provided? Most DPT colleges provide some type of financial aid to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid office and see what kind of aid is offered. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. Some physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapy school you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Toccoa GA area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out 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 may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Toccoa Georgia?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Toccoa GA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Toccoa is a city in, and the county seat of, Stephens County, Georgia, United States, located about 50 miles (80 km) from Athens and about 90 miles (140 km) northeast of Atlanta. The population was 8,491 as of the 2010 census.
Indian agent Col. George Chicken was one of the first people to mention Toccoa in his journal from 1725. The first residents of European descent were a small number of American Revolutionary War veterans led by Col. William H. Wofford who moved to the area when the war ended. The area was referred to as Wofford's Tract, or Wofford's Settlement. Col. Wofford is buried near Toccoa Falls. His son, William T. Wofford, was born near Toccoa (then part of Habersham County), and was an officer during the Mexican–American War and a general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War.
The Georgia Land Lottery of 1820 spurred the migration of Scots-Irish from North Carolina and the Georgia coast. The Georgia Gold Rush, starting in 1828, and the 1838 removal of the Cherokee on the infamous "Trail of Tears" further changed settlement patterns in the area.
Select the Ideal Physical Therapy Degree Program near Toccoa GA
Deciding on the best physical therapist college is a necessary initial decision you must make to begin a gratifying career in the medical profession. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you choose should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. But there are other important questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapist program, bear in mind that a number of factors will guide you toward your final decision. You might decide to go to different colleges to see their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me accomplish 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 best choice. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Toccoa GA.
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