How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapy Training Program near Lithia Springs Georgia
Getting a physical therapist degree near Lithia Springs GA is a critical first step to starting a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated as a result of injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the proper training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to investigate the ones you are thinking about to ensure they will provide a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing standards. 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 relevant qualifications that must be evaluated in addition to 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 Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in diverse locations, including Lithia Springs 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 the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a course of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Fire injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Lithia Springs GA medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapist degrees offered for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is offered to practice as 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 available in the Lithia Springs GA area:
- Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually provided by community colleges, and require two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally part of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy education 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 initial step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take four years to complete and usually include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement in order to become a licensed practicing 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 investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential element in addition to the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not only 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 offered in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Colleges
While not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy programs available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online part of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Lithia Springs GA residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat lower than comparable on-campus options, and costs for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
At this point you probably have come to decision regarding a few of your initial questions, like the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the Lithia Springs GA area and across Georgia, you’ll have to research other qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school options. Also, you need to be sure that you select the school that is right for you. That’s why we have put together a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Find out if the schools you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional 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 choose an online program, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with a few Lithia Springs GA physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your college selections. It might also be a good idea to contact the Georgia Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two important statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist colleges you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Lithia Springs 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 excellent. It also verifies that the college has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the school you enroll in furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for Georgia or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapist colleges you are evaluating have relationships with Lithia Springs GA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Lithia Springs health care community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Lithia Springs GA home. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously 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 choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Support Provided? The majority of DPT colleges offer some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance office and see what kind of aid is available. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist school you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Lithia Springs GA area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Lithia Springs Georgia?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Lithia Springs GA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Lithia Springs, Georgia
Lithia Springs is a census-designated place and unincorporated area, formerly incorporated as a city, located in northeastern Douglas County, Georgia, United States. As of the 2010 census, the community had a population of 15,491. The area is named for its historic "lithia" mineral water springs.
Incorporated in 1882, Lithia Springs was dissolved the first time in 1933. Lithia Springs became incorporated again in 1994, to be Douglas County's second completely internal municipality, but disincorporated again in 2001.
In 2001, the citizens voted (80% yea, 20% nay) on March 20 to dissolve the city charter and de-incorporate the city, transferring all assets to the county. The referendum that ended the town was part of the settlement in a lawsuit brought by city residents charging the city should be dissolved because it did not deliver enough services to justify its existence under state law. During its incorporation until 2001, the former city had five mayors.
Physical Therapy University Lithia Springs GA
Choosing the ideal physical therapist school is an important first decision you have to make to start a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you select should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. But there are other relevant questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice also. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Physical Therapy University. However, as you start your search for a physical therapist college keep in mind that numerous factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You may want to visit different colleges to view their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me realize my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the best choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Lithia Springs GA.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Georgia
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