Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – Alton IL

How to Pick a Physical Therapist Training Program near Alton 62002

Alton IL physical therapy school student with volunteerGetting a physical therapist degree near Alton IL is an essential first step to starting a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated due to injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive 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 enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research the ones you are thinking about to make certain they will supply a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is choose a school just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated along with 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 the options for education.

What Do Physical Therapists Do?

Alton IL physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists practice in a variety of settings, such as Alton IL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a program of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate 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
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Strokes.
  • Heart attacks.
  • Sports injuries.
  • Fire injuries.
  • Hip Replacement.
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Cerebral Palsy.

Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Alton IL medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees

Alton IL physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are 3 physical therapy degrees offered for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degree levels that are available in the Alton IL area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or can 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 degrees are usually provided by community colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a component of the course of study.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training to prep students to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they generally require four years to complete and usually incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are a requirement in order 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 commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an intregal element in addition to the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in some 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 having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapy Colleges Online

woman attending physical therapy school online in Alton ILWhile not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapist programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature 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 nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Alton IL residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition can be significantly lower than comparable on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.

What to Ask Physical Therapy Programs

At this point you most likely have come to decision regarding some of your preliminary queries, like the type of physical therapy degree you would like to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Alton IL area and throughout Illinois, you’ll need to explore other qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of college choices. Also, you need to make sure that you select the college that is ideal for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are considering. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making a final decision.

Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited?  Ask if the schools you are looking at have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As previously stated, 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 program, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not just the school. Also, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the College’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact several Alton IL physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your program options. It may also be a good idea to contact the Illinois Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the schools.

What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of important statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapist colleges you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might mean that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Alton IL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care field is good or even outstanding. It also verifies that the program has a large network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment after graduation.

Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the program you choose provides both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for Illinois or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapist schools you are assessing have partnerships with Alton IL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to get practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students establish professional connections in the Alton medical community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person 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. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.

Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Alton IL residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you decide 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 often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Help Offered? Most DPT schools supply some type of financial support to their prospective students. Find out if the schools you are looking at have a financial assistance department and see what kind of help is offered. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance might be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapist college you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Alton IL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Alton Illinois?

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

Alton, Illinois

Alton is a city on the Mississippi River in Madison County, Illinois, United States, about 15 miles (24 km) north of St. Louis, Missouri. The population was 27,865 at the 2010 census. It is a part of the Metro-East region of the Greater St. Louis metropolitan area. It is famous for its limestone bluffs along the river north of the city, for its role preceding and during the American Civil War, and as the home town of jazz musician Miles Davis and Robert Wadlow, the tallest known person in history. It was the site of the last Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas debate in October 1858. The former state penitentiary in Alton was used during the Civil War to hold up to 12,000 Confederate prisoners of war.

Although Alton once was growing faster than its sister city of St. Louis, a coalition of St. Louis businessmen planned to build a competing town to stop its expansion and bring business to St. Louis. The result was Grafton, Illinois.

Many blocks of housing in Alton were built in the Victorian Queen Anne style; they represent a prosperous period in the river city's history. At the top of the hill in the commercial area, several stone churches and a fine city hall also represent the city's wealth during its good times based on river traffic, manufacturing and shipping. It was a commercial center for a large agricultural area. Numerous residences on hills have sweeping views of the Mississippi River.

Pick the Right Physical Therapy College near Alton IL

Choosing the best physical therapy college is a necessary first decision you have to make to start a gratifying career in the health care profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you decide on should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are additional critical questions that you should ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapy program, bear in mind that a number of variables will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You might want to visit different colleges to see their facilities and speak with 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 additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the ideal choice. And with the proper education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Alton IL.

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