How to Pick a Physical Therapist College near West Point 31833
Earning a physical therapy degree near West Point GA is an important first step to launching a fulfilling career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled due to injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the appropriate training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to evaluate the ones you are considering to make sure they will supply a superior education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is choose a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be evaluated besides location and cost. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in diverse settings, including West Point GA hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes 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 mentioned, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they develop a course of treatment to address the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other West Point GA health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Offered
There are 3 physical therapy degrees offered for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the one degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short descriptions of degree levels that are offered in the West Point GA area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically provided by community or junior colleges, and require two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a portion of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy training to prepare candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically require 4 years to complete and commonly incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to complete, making the total commitment seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an important component along with the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment 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 eliminated and is no longer offered in the United States. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Colleges Online
Although not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online portion of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s West Point GA home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat lower than similar on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
By now you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning several of your initial questions, like the kind of physical therapist degree you want to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the West Point GA area and across Georgia, you’ll need to explore additional qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Furthermore, you need to make certain that you enroll in the college that is best for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are considering. Ask each of the competing schools these questions prior to making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. 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 select 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 enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can research a PT school’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Contact a few West Point GA physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your program selections. It might also be a good idea to contact the Georgia Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two relevant statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapy programs you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might mean that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, 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 West Point GA area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even outstanding. It also verifies that the college has a broad network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the program you select provides both excellent training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for Georgia or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the physical therapy colleges you are assessing have partnerships with West Point GA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students establish professional connections in the West Point healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools 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 determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy school they select will need to be within driving distance of their West Point GA home. Students who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have 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 Provided? Most DPT colleges offer some type of financial support to their prospective students. Find out if the schools you are looking at have a financial assistance office and see what type of assistance is available. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapist school you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the West Point GA area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option 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 might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near West Point Georgia?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the West Point GA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
West Point, Georgia
West Point is a city in Troup and Harris counties in the U.S. state of Georgia. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 3,474, and in 2015 the estimated population was 3,728. Most of the city is in Troup County, which is part of the LaGrange Micropolitan Statistical Area, and hence part of the Atlanta-Athens-Clarke County-Sandy Springs, GA Combined Statistical Area. A sliver in the south is in Harris County, which is part of the Columbus Metropolitan Statistical Area.
The city's present name comes from its being near the westernmost point of the Chattahoochee River, where the river turns from its southwesterly flow from the Appalachian Mountains to due south – for all practical purposes – and forms the boundary with Alabama. The large nearby reservoir, West Point Lake, was created by the Army Corps of Engineers by the building of the West Point Dam, for water storage and hydroelectric power generation. The reservoir stores water which can be released during dry seasons, in order to maintain the water level of the navigable inland waterway from Columbus, Georgia, south to the Gulf of Mexico.
During the late spring of 2003, there was a flood caused by extremely heavy rainfall and thunderstorms upstream of the West Point Dam; the weather caused the water level in the reservoir to come close to overflowing the top of the dam. There were allegations of poor forecasting by the Corps of Engineers of the reservoir's water levels. The flood water would have overflowed the dam had a large amount of water not been released though the spillway of the dam. Whereas this prevented the catastrophic failure of the West Point Dam, the city endured a flood much more severe than any other in the time since the dam had been built.
Select the Best Physical Therapist Training Program near West Point GA
Choosing the right physical therapy college is an important initial decision you have to make to start a rewarding career in the healthcare profession. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you select should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. However there are additional important questions that you should ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapy program, keep in mind that a number of variables will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You might decide to go to different campuses to see their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to 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 necessary training and education, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in West Point GA.
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