How to Choose the Right Physical Therapist Program near Clarkesville Georgia
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Clarkesville GA is a critical first step to launching a rewarding career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated due to injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the necessary training and education. A PT must also become licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate those you are thinking about to make certain they will furnish a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is choose a college just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be evaluated along with cost and location. 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’s Job Description?
Physical therapists work in a variety of settings, including Clarkesville GA private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also strive to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks
- Sports injuries
- Fire injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Clarkesville GA medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapist degrees available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief explanations of degree levels that are available in the Clarkesville GA area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become 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 made available by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist training to ready students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they generally require four years to complete and commonly include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement if you want to become a licensed practicing 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 seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential component in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in some states for licensing as well.
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 even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Programs Online
Although not as common as the more traditional options, there are some accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online part of the course of study can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Clarkesville GA residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition can be significantly less than similar on-campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
By now you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding some of your initial queries, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you want to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Clarkesville GA area and across Georgia, you’ll need to research other qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of college choices. Also, you need to make certain that you select the school that is best for you. That’s why we have collected a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Find out if the programs you are looking at have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. 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 select an online school, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several ways you can investigate a PT school’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Contact some Clarkesville GA physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight 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 colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two important statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Clarkesville GA area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also confirms that the school has a wide network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the college you choose furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements for Georgia or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapist schools you are evaluating have associations with Clarkesville GA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Clarkesville healthcare community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom 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 schools you are looking at what the typical 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 talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they select will have to be within driving distance of their Clarkesville GA residence. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. 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 have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? Most DPT schools provide some form of financial aid to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid office and see what type of aid is offered. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. Some physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapist program you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Clarkesville GA area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Clarkesville Georgia?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Clarkesville GA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Clarkesville is located in central Habersham County at 34°36′38″N 83°31′30″W / 34.61056°N 83.52500°W / 34.61056; -83.52500 (34.610521, -83.525056), on the south side of the Soquee River, a southwest-flowing tributary of the Chattahoochee River. It is 4 miles (6 km) north of Demorest, 15 miles (24 km) east of Cleveland, 13 miles (21 km) west of Toccoa, and 13 miles southwest of Tallulah Falls.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.49 square miles (6.45 km2), of which 2.46 square miles (6.37 km2) are land and 0.03 square miles (0.08 km2), or 1.20%, are water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,248 people, 580 households, and 335 families residing in the city. The population density was 670.6 people per square mile (259.1/km²). There were 639 housing units at an average density of 343.3 per square mile (132.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.06% White, 7.77% African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.72% Asian, 0.32% from other races, and 0.96% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.36% of the population.
Degree Required For Physical Therapist Clarkesville GA
Deciding on the best physical therapy program is a necessary first decision you have to make to begin a gratifying career in the health care field. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you decide on should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are additional relevant questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Degree Required For Physical Therapist. However, as you start your search for a physical therapist program bear in mind that many variables will guide you to your final decision. You may want to visit each of the schools to view their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the ideal selection. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Clarkesville GA.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Georgia
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