How to Enroll In the Right Physical Therapy College near Smyrna Georgia
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Smyrna GA is an important first step to beginning a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated 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 also be licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research the ones you are thinking about to make sure they will deliver 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 nearest 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 discuss what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists practice in diverse settings, such as Smyrna GA private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a course of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks
- Sports injuries
- Burn injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Smyrna GA health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also manage several physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to take note of for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapist degrees available for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the single 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. Below are short explanations of degree levels that are offered in the Smyrna GA area:
- Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are typically provided by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to ready candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally require 4 years to complete and usually incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want to become a licensed practicing 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 3 years to complete, making the overall investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal component in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not just 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 eliminated and is no longer attainable in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Degrees Online
While not as common as the on campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapy programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined 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 part of the course of study can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Smyrna GA home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition may be significantly lower than comparable on campus alternatives, and expenditures 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 option the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning a few of your initial queries, like the kind of physical therapy 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 schools within the Smyrna GA area and throughout Georgia, you’ll have to research other qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college choices. Furthermore, you need to make sure that you pick the program that is right for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Find out if the schools 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 select an online college, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not just the school. Also, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call a few Smyrna GA physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any advice 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 filed against the colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two useful statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Smyrna GA area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps excellent. It also confirms that the school has a large network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the program you select provides both excellent training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements 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) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapy schools you are reviewing have associations with Smyrna GA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means 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 can help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Smyrna healthcare community and help with job placement once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Smyrna GA residence. Those who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing 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 commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? The majority of DPT schools supply some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial aid department and see what kind of help is available. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapist school you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Smyrna GA area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Smyrna Georgia?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Smyrna GA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Smyrna is a city in Cobb County, Georgia, United States. It is located northwest of Atlanta, and is in the inner ring of the Atlanta Metropolitan Area. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 51,271. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the population in 2013 to be 53,438. It is included in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs–Roswell MSA, which is included in the Atlanta–Athens–Clarke–Sandy Springs CSA. Smyrna grew by 28% between the years 2000 and 2012. It is historically one of the fastest growing cities in the State of Georgia, and one of the most densely populated cities in the metro area.
Pioneers began settling the area in 1832. By the late 1830s, a religious encampment called Smyrna Camp Ground had become a popular travel destination and was well known throughout Georgia. It was named by Greeks for the Biblical city of Smyrna, modern day Izmir in Turkey, the home of the famous Christian martyr Polycarp. After the completion of the Western and Atlantic Railroad in 1842, the area began to grow. It was known by several names until 1872—Varner's Station, Ruff's Siding, Neal Dow, and Ruff's Station. The city was incorporated with the name Smyrna in 1872.
Two Civil War battles occurred in the area, the Battle of Smyrna Camp Ground and the Battle of Ruff's Mill, both on July 4, 1864. The area's businesses, homes and 1849 covered bridge (since rebuilt and still in use today) were burned by Sherman's troops.
Required Courses For Physical Therapy Smyrna GA
Deciding on the right physical therapist college is an important first decision you have to make to begin a gratifying career in the health care field. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you decide on should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. But there are other relevant questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice also. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Required Courses For Physical Therapy. However, as you commence your search for a physical therapist college bear in mind that a number of factors will lead you to your final decision. You may want to visit each of the campuses to see their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Smyrna GA.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Georgia
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