How to Pick the Right Physical Therapist Program near Toccoa Georgia
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Toccoa GA is an important first step to launching a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the proper training and education. A PT must also be licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to research the ones you are looking at to make sure they will provide a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is enroll in a school just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated besides location and cost. 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 Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in diverse settings, such as Toccoa GA hospitals, health clinics, 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 previously touched on, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a course of treatment to address the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also strive to stop any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries
- Heart attacks
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Fire injuries
- Hip Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Toccoa GA medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Offered
There are three physical therapist degree options offered for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degrees that are offered in the Toccoa GA area:
- Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are usually offered by community or junior colleges, and take about two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically part of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist education 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 essential first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they normally take four years to complete and often incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to complete, making the overall investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an important component in addition to the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in several 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 United States. Some 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 implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Programs
Although not as prevalent as the more traditional options, there are a number of 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 integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online segment of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Toccoa GA home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition might be significantly less than similar on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools 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 attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
By now you probably have made a decision regarding a few of your preliminary queries, like the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the Toccoa GA area and throughout Georgia, you’ll need to explore other qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Furthermore, you need to make sure that you pick the program that is best for you. That’s why we have put together a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are considering. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Ask if the schools you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As previously 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 enroll in an online program, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy school and program you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with some Toccoa GA physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your school options. It might also be a good idea to check with the Georgia Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two significant statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Toccoa GA area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or even exceptional. It also verifies that the school has a large network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the school you select provides both excellent training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapist programs you are evaluating have partnerships with Toccoa 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 additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Toccoa medical community and help with job placement once licensed.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapist school they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Toccoa GA home. 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 importance. Something 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 typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT colleges provide some form of financial aid to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are looking at have a financial assistance department and find out what type of help is available. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. Some physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college 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 therapy program you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Toccoa GA area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify 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 might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Toccoa Georgia?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Toccoa GA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Toccoa is a city in, and the county seat of, Stephens County, Georgia, United States, located about 50 miles (80 km) from Athens and about 90 miles (140 km) northeast of Atlanta. The population was 8,491 as of the 2010 census.
Indian agent Col. George Chicken was one of the first people to mention Toccoa in his journal from 1725. The first residents of European descent were a small number of American Revolutionary War veterans led by Col. William H. Wofford who moved to the area when the war ended. The area was referred to as Wofford's Tract, or Wofford's Settlement. Col. Wofford is buried near Toccoa Falls. His son, William T. Wofford, was born near Toccoa (then part of Habersham County), and was an officer during the Mexican–American War and a general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War.
The Georgia Land Lottery of 1820 spurred the migration of Scots-Irish from North Carolina and the Georgia coast. The Georgia Gold Rush, starting in 1828, and the 1838 removal of the Cherokee on the infamous "Trail of Tears" further changed settlement patterns in the area.
Schools That Offer Physical Therapy Assistant Toccoa GA
Choosing the ideal physical therapist program is an important initial decision you must make to launch a fulfilling career in the health care profession. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you select should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. But there are additional relevant questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice also. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Schools That Offer Physical Therapy Assistant. However, as you commence your search for a physical therapy program bear in mind that many factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You may want to visit each of the campuses to view their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program 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 appropriate selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Toccoa GA.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Georgia
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