How to Pick a Physical Therapy Program near Valdosta 31601
Receiving a physical therapy degree near Valdosta GA is an important first step to beginning a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled due to illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the proper training and education. A PT must also be licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to investigate the ones you are considering to make sure they will supply a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is enroll in a school just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be considered besides cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of locations, such as Valdosta 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 diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to prevent any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Valdosta GA medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also manage 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 thinking about going into 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 extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Offered
There are three physical therapist degree options available for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degree levels that are offered in the Valdosta GA area:
- Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually made available by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy training to ready students to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically require four years to finish and usually include 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). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the total investment of time 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 completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in several 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 phased out and is no longer offered in the USA. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Colleges Online
Although not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapy programs available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the curriculum can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Valdosta GA residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition may be somewhat lower than comparable on campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are reduced. 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 disciplined enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
By now you probably have come to decision concerning several of your initial questions, like the type of physical therapist degree you intend to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Valdosta GA area and across Georgia, you’ll need to explore other qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of school choices. Furthermore, you need to be sure that you choose the school that is right for you. That’s why we have collected a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are considering. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Find out if the programs you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As earlier stated, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you enroll in an online program, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Also, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT school’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. Get in touch with some Valdosta GA physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your school options. It might also be prudent to contact the Georgia Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate 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 placed in jobs with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Valdosta GA area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even outstanding. It also confirms that the school has a wide network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you select provides both excellent training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Georgia or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as 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 and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapist programs you are reviewing have partnerships with Valdosta GA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Valdosta healthcare community and help with job placement after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing 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 a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Valdosta GA residence. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry 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 decide 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 often 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 Aid Provided? Most DPT colleges provide some type of financial support to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are considering have a financial aid department and see what kind of help is offered. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapist school you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Valdosta GA area, make sure 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 need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Valdosta Georgia?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Valdosta GA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Valdosta is a city in and the county seat of Lowndes County, located on the southern border of Georgia, United States. As of 2013, Valdosta has a total population of 56,481, and is the 14th largest city in Georgia.
Valdosta is the home of Valdosta State University, a regional university in the University System of Georgia with over 10,900 students. The local public Valdosta High School has the most winning football program of any high school in the United States.
Valdosta was incorporated on December 7, 1860, when it was designated by the state legislature as the new county seat, formerly at nearby Troupville. The railroad was built to Valdosta that year, rather than Troupville, stimulating development in the new county seat. Many citizens of Troupville had already relocated to Valdosta when the Atlantic and Gulf Railroad was built four miles (about 6 km) away. On July 4, 1860, the engine known as Satilla No. 3 pulled the first train into Valdosta on the Atlantic and Gulf Railroad.
Enroll in the Ideal Physical Therapist Degree Program near Valdosta GA
Deciding on the ideal physical therapy school is an important initial decision you need to make to launch a gratifying career in the health care profession. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you choose should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are additional important questions that you should ask regarding your college of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapist program, keep in mind that numerous variables will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You may decide to go to each of the colleges to see their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed 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 necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Valdosta GA.
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