How to Pick a Physical Therapist Program near Waynesville 31566
Getting a physical therapy degree near Waynesville GA is a critical first step to launching a rewarding career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help people 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 need to get the proper education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s important to research those you are considering to make certain they will provide a quality education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is choose a college just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be evaluated besides location and cost. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in varying settings, including Waynesville GA hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to address the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Waynesville GA health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapist degrees offered for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degrees that are available in the Waynesville GA area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually provided by community colleges, and require two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to prepare candidates to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally require four years to complete and commonly incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required in order to become a practicing licensed 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 commitment seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an important component in addition to the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in a number of states for licensing also.
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 USA. Some practicing physical therapists holding 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 Therapy Degrees Online
While not as common as the on-campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the school campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online portion of the curriculum can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Waynesville GA home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition may be somewhat less than similar on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
At this point you most likely have come to decision concerning some of your initial queries, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Waynesville GA area and across Georgia, you’ll need to research additional qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of school options. Furthermore, you want to make sure that you pick the college that is best for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As previously mentioned, 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 college, 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 just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call some Waynesville GA physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your program options. It may also be a good idea to contact 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 Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students left due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Waynesville GA area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also verifies that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you select furnishes both superior training and a curriculum 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) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the physical therapy colleges you are assessing have associations with Waynesville GA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Waynesville health care community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing what the average 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 an opportunity to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist school they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Waynesville GA home. Those who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern 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 even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically 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 Assistance Provided? The majority of DPT colleges supply some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Ask if the schools you are looking at have a financial assistance office and see what type of assistance is offered. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. Some physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapist program you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Waynesville GA area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Waynesville Georgia?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Waynesville GA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Select the Right Physical Therapy College near Waynesville GA
Selecting the best physical therapist college is a necessary first decision you need to make to start a rewarding career in the health care field. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you choose should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are additional critical questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapist college, keep in mind that numerous variables will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might decide to go to different schools to see their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical 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 field so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Waynesville GA.
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