How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapist School near Ocilla Georgia
Getting a physical therapy degree near Ocilla GA is an important first step to beginning a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated as a result of illness or injury regain 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 also be licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research those you are considering to make certain they will provide a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is choose a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be evaluated along with location and cost. But before we discuss 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 varying settings, including Ocilla GA hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also strive to prevent any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries
- Cardiac arrest
- Sports injuries
- Fire injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Ocilla GA medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are three physical therapy degree options available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the only 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 readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short explanations of degree levels that are available in the Ocilla GA area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to be 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 GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically made available by community or junior colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically part of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist education to prepare candidates to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take 4 years to complete and usually incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement if you want to become a practicing licensed physical therapist. The degree program must also 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 investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical training is an important element in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in several states for licensing as well.
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. A number of practicing physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Colleges Online
While not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs available, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Ocilla GA residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition can be significantly lower than comparable on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding some of your initial questions, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you want to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Ocilla GA area and throughout Georgia, you’ll have to look into other qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Also, you need to make certain that you select the school that is right for you. That’s why we have collected a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online school, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several ways you can research a PT college’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Call some Ocilla GA physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your program selections. It may also be a good idea to check with the Georgia Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two significant statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean that students left because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once 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 Ocilla GA area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps excellent. It also verifies that the college has a wide network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the program you select furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements for Georgia or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapist schools you are assessing have associations with Ocilla GA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional connections in the Ocilla medical community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Ocilla GA residence. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT schools supply some type of financial aid to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid office and see what type of assistance is offered. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. A number of physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapist program you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Ocilla GA area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Ocilla Georgia?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Ocilla GA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Ocilla was founded in 1880, incorporated as a town in 1897, and finally re-incorporated as a city in 1902. It is not clear whether Ocilla is named for the Seminole Chief Osceola, for an Oswichee Native American tribe, or, as proposed by historian John Goff, it could be an adaptation of the place name Auscilla. A 1981 Fitzgerald Herald-Leader says that "a tribe of Oswichee Indians once lived near the Ocmulgee River on land known in 1818 as Irwin County." There, towns were called Oswitchee and Ocilla, and sometimes Ocichi. The French census shows that a town called Ocichi existed there in 1750. A later census in 1832 gives Oswhichee as the name of another Indian village close to Osochi." It goes on with "The town's name was changed seven times. It was called by the Indians Assile, next Aglie, Axilla, Agulu, Ochile, and lastly Ocilla." This theory is less popular today.
The most popular theory is that Ocilla is named for Chief Osceola, who had a prominent role in the Second Seminole War. Allegedly, he camped in the area known as Western Heights in Ocilla and frequently could be found in the area until his capture and imprisonment at Fort Moultrie, South Carolina. Osceola is probably the reason that the sports teams in Irwin County are now known as the Indians.
In the 1980s and 1990s Marie Watson was known in Ocilla as the "Christmas Lady." Watson would intricately decorate the property around her home on Cherry Street with lights and Christmas decorations and each year "Santa Claus" would visit the property, taking wishes for gifts from children. Watson became famous for her Christmas cheer but eventually stopped due to the hassle of decorating and because of her older age. Today, her tradition is somewhat carried on every year as the City of Ocilla now decorates Cumbee Park, the public park directly in front of Watson's former home, and holds a yearly session with Santa Claus.
Colleges With Undergraduate Physical Therapy Programs Ocilla GA
Choosing the ideal physical therapy college is an important first decision you must make to start a gratifying career in the healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you select should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are other important 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 Colleges With Undergraduate Physical Therapy Programs. However, as you commence your search for a physical therapy college keep in mind that many variables will lead you to your ultimate decision. You may decide to go to different campuses to see their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the right selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Ocilla GA.
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