How to Select the Right Physical Therapist Program near Elberton Georgia
Receiving a physical therapy degree near Elberton GA is an important first step to starting a rewarding career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled as a result of injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to investigate those you are thinking about to make certain they will deliver a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be considered in addition to cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists work in varying locations, such as Elberton GA private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers 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 touched on, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they create a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries
- Cardiac arrest
- Sports injuries
- Fire injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Elberton GA health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy profession, 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 three physical therapy degree options offered for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief descriptions of degree levels that are offered in the Elberton GA area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can 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 programs are typically made available by junior or community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a portion of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to prepare candidates to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they normally take four years to complete and commonly include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to complete, making the total investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal element in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not just 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 attainable in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Programs
While not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are many 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 incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the curriculum can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Elberton GA residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition might be somewhat less than similar on-campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
By now you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding some of your preliminary queries, such as the type of physical therapist degree you would like to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Elberton GA area and across Georgia, you’ll need to look into additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school choices. Also, you want to be sure that you select the program that is best for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are considering. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are considering have received accreditation from a national or a regional 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 enroll in an online college, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated 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 select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact several Elberton GA physical therapy clinics or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your program options. It might also be a good idea to check with the Georgia Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Elberton GA area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also verifies that the program has a broad network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you choose provides both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies 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 PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing have partnerships with Elberton GA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Elberton healthcare community and assist with job placement after licensing.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. 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 a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist school they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Elberton GA residence. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? The majority of DPT colleges offer some type of financial aid to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have a financial aid department and see what kind of assistance is offered. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. Some physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapy program you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Elberton GA area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Elberton Georgia?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Elberton GA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Settled in the 1780s, Elbert was designated seat of the newly formed Elbert County in 1790. It was incorporated as a town in 1803 and as a city in 1896. Like Elbert County, Elberton is named for Samuel Elbert.
Elberton is located near the center of Elbert County at 34°6′35″N 82°51′56″W / 34.10972°N 82.86556°W / 34.10972; -82.86556 (34.109628, -82.865669). State Routes 17 and 72 pass east-west through the center of town as College Avenue, while 77 crosses north-south on Oliver Street. GA 17 leads northwest 19 miles (31 km) to Royston and southeast 29 miles (47 km) to Washington, GA 72 leads east 15 miles (24 km) to the South Carolina border at Richard B. Russell Lake on the Savannah River and west 35 miles (56 km) to Athens, and GA 77 leads north 18 miles (29 km) to Hartwell and southwest 25 miles (40 km) to Lexington.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Elberton has a total area of 4.8 square miles (12.4 km2), of which 4.7 square miles (12.3 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2), or 0.72%, is water.
How Long Does It Take To Become Physical Therapist Elberton GA
Picking the right physical therapy school is an important initial decision you have to make to start a gratifying career in the health care field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you choose should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are additional relevant questions that you need to ask regarding your college of choice also. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on How Long Does It Take To Become Physical Therapist. However, as you commence your search for a physical therapist program keep in mind that a number of factors will lead you to your final decision. You may want to visit each of the colleges to view their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the right choice. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Elberton GA.
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