How to Find the Right Physical Therapist Program near Waycross 31501
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Waycross GA is an important first step to launching a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the necessary education and training. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to investigate the ones you are looking at to make sure they will supply a superior education and meet your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is select a school just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be considered besides cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address 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 Waycross GA hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they create a course of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also try to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Waycross GA health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapist degrees offered for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is attainable to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief summaries of degree levels that are available in the Waycross GA area:
- Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are most often provided by community or junior colleges, and require two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to ready students to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they generally require 4 years to finish and often incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required if you want to become a licensed practicing 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 3 years to complete, making the total commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an important element along with the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in a number of 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 available in the USA. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Degrees
While not as common as the more traditional options, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Waycross GA home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition might be somewhat less than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
At this point you probably have made a decision concerning a few of your initial questions, like the type of physical therapy degree you would like to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Waycross GA area and throughout Georgia, you’ll need to explore other qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of college choices. Furthermore, you need to make sure that you pick the school that is best for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are considering. Ask each of the potential schools these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Ask if the schools you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier mentioned, 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 college, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can research a PT college’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 as well. Get in touch with some Waycross GA physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your program selections. 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 College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two useful statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapy programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Waycross GA area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also verifies that the program has a broad network of contacts to help students get internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you select furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapist schools you are interested in have associations with Waycross GA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Waycross medical community and assist 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 class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Waycross GA home. Students who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing 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 typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Support Offered? Most DPT colleges supply some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department and find out what kind of aid is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapist school you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Waycross GA area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option 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 work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Waycross Georgia?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Waycross GA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Waycross includes two historic districts (Downtown Waycross Historic District and Waycross Historic District) and several other properties that are on the National Register of Historic Places, including the U.S. Post Office and Courthouse, Lott Cemetery, the First African Baptist Church and Parsonage, and the Obediah Barber Homestead (which is seven miles south of the city).
The area now known as Waycross was first settled circa 1820, locally known as "Old Nine" or "Number Nine" and then Pendleton. It was renamed Tebeauville in 1857, incorporated under that name in 1866, and designated county seat of Ware County in 1873. It was incorporated as "Way Cross" on March 3, 1874. Waycross gets its name from the city’s location at key railroad junctions; lines from six directions meet at the city.
Waycross was home to Laura S. Walker (1861-1955) a noted author and conservationist. Walker promoted a comprehensive program of forestry activity, including the establishment of forest parks. She erected markers and monuments along old trails and at historic sites, in Waycross and Ware County so that local history would not be forgotten. An effort to recognize her work culminated in President Franklin D Roosevelt issuing a proclamation to establish the Laura S Walker National Park in her honor. She was the only living person for whom a state or national park was named. In 1937, the federal government purchased distressed farmland for the park. Work on the park was undertaken by the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps. In 1941, the national park was deeded over to Georgia, becoming the State's 13th state park.
Choose the Right Physical Therapy College near Waycross GA
Choosing the best physical therapy program is a necessary initial decision you have to make to begin a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you pick should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. But there are additional important questions that you need to ask regarding your college of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapy program, bear in mind that numerous factors will guide you toward your final decision. You might want to visit different schools to view their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me achieve 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 ideal choice. And with the proper training and education, you can accomplish your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Waycross GA.
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