Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – Chicago Park CA

How to Pick a Physical Therapy College near Chicago Park 95712

Chicago Park CA physical therapy school student with volunteerObtaining a physical therapy degree near Chicago Park CA is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated due to injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the proper training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research the ones you are thinking about to ensure they will provide a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is choose a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be considered along with location and cost. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.

What Do Physical Therapists Do?

Chicago Park CA physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists practice in a variety of settings, including Chicago Park CA hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a course of treatment to address the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Head injuries.
  • Heart attacks.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
  • Burn injuries.
  • Hip Replacement.
  • Sciatica.
  • Cerebral Palsy.

Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Chicago Park CA health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone considering entering the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees Available

Chicago Park CA physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are 3 physical therapy degree options offered for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the single 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 progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief descriptions of degrees that are available in the Chicago Park CA area:

  • Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are most often offered by community colleges, and require two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally part of the program.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy training 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 integral preliminary step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take 4 years to complete and usually include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are required in order to become a practicing licensed physical therapist. The degree program also must 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. Practical or clinical training is an intregal component in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in several states for licensing also.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer attainable in the USA. A number of practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapist Colleges Online

woman attending physical therapy school online in Chicago Park CAAlthough not as common as the more traditional alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs available, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online segment of the program may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Chicago Park CA home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition can be significantly less than similar on campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Schools

By now you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning a few of your initial queries, including the kind of physical therapy degree you intend to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Chicago Park CA area and throughout California, you’ll need to look into additional qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of school choices. Furthermore, you want to make sure that you choose the program that is best for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are considering. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited?  Find out if the schools you are reviewing have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As earlier stated, 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 school, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the Program’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT school’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Get in touch with several Chicago Park CA physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your college selections. It may also be prudent to check with the California 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 relevant statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapist colleges you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Chicago Park CA area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps excellent. It also confirms that the college has a large network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the school you select provides both excellent training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria for California 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 therapy college. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing have relationships with Chicago Park CA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Chicago Park healthcare community and assist with job placement once licensed.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing 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 decision. 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 College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Chicago Park CA home. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Support Provided? Most DPT schools provide some type of financial support to their potential students. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance office and find out what type of assistance is offered. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid may be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist college you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Chicago Park CA area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Chicago Park California?

If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Chicago Park CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.

Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park is a 1,208-acre (489-hectare) park situated along Lake Michigan on North Side in Chicago, Illinois. Named after US President Abraham Lincoln, it is the city's largest public park and stretches for seven miles (11 km) from Grand Avenue (500 N) on the south[1][2] to near Ardmore Avenue (5800 N) on the north, just north of the Lake Shore Drive terminus at Hollywood Avenue.[3] Several museums and a zoo are located between North Avenue (1600 N) and Diversey Parkway (2800 N) in the eponymous neighborhood. Further to the north, the park is characterized by parkland, beaches, recreational areas, nature reserves, and harbors. To the south, there is a more narrow strip of beaches east of Lake Shore Drive, almost to downtown. With 20 million visitors per year, Lincoln Park is the second-most-visited park in the United States.[4]

The park's recreational facilities include baseball/softball fields, basketball courts, soccer/football fields, tennis courts, volleyball courts, field houses, a target archery field, a skate park, a driving range, and a golf course. The park also features several harbors with boating facilities, as well as public beaches. There are landscaped gardens, public art, bird refuges, a zoo, the Lincoln Park Conservatory, the Chicago History Museum, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool, and a theater on the lake with regular outdoor performances held during the summer.

In 1860, Lake Park (earlier, Cemetery Park), the precursor of today's park, was established by the city on the lands just to the north of the city's burial ground.[5] Five years later, on June 12, 1865, the park was renamed to honor the recently assassinated President Abraham Lincoln.

Pick the Best Physical Therapy Degree Program near Chicago Park CA

Deciding on the best physical therapy program is a necessary initial decision you need to make to launch a gratifying career in the medical field. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you decide on should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are other critical questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist program, keep in mind that numerous factors will lead you toward your final decision. You might decide to go to different colleges to view their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the best selection. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Chicago Park CA.

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