How to Find the Right Physical Therapy Program near Atlanta 61723
Obtaining a physical therapy degree near Atlanta IL is an essential first step to beginning a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated as a result of illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the necessary education and training. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to investigate the ones you are thinking about to ensure they will deliver a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is enroll in a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be evaluated in addition to cost and location. But before we talk about 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 practice in varying locations, such as Atlanta IL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a course of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Atlanta IL medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Available
There are three physical therapist degree options offered for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degrees that are offered in the Atlanta IL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are typically offered by community or junior colleges, and require two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to prepare students to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally take four years to finish and often include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required in order 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 3 years to complete, making the total investment of time seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an important component along with the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, 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 phased out and is no longer offered 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 current licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Programs Online
While not as common as the more traditional options, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online portion of the program may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Atlanta IL home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition can be somewhat less than comparable on campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning some of your initial questions, like the kind of physical therapy degree you want to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Atlanta IL area and throughout Illinois, you’ll need to research additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school choices. Also, you need to be sure that you pick the school that is right for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Find out if the schools you are considering have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As earlier 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 select an online school, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are a number of ways you can research a PT college’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact a few Atlanta IL physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your program options. It may also be prudent to contact the Illinois Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapy programs you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Atlanta IL area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps excellent. It also affirms that the school has a wide network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the program you enroll in furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for Illinois or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the physical therapy programs you are interested in have relationships with Atlanta IL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Atlanta medical community and assist with job placement once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering 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 a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Atlanta IL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry 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 college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Most DPT colleges supply some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid office and see what kind of help is available. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. Some physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapy program you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Atlanta IL area, confirm 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, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Atlanta Illinois?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Atlanta IL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
According to the 2010 census, Atlanta has a total area of 1.268 square miles (3.28 km2), of which 1.26 square miles (3.26 km2) (or 99.37%) is land and 0.008 square miles (0.02 km2) (or 0.63%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,649 people, 694 households, and 469 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,310 people per square mile (505/km²). There were 734 housing units at an average density of 583.3 per square mile (224.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 99.58% White, 0.12% Native American, 0.12% from other races, and 0.18% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.42% of the population.
There were 694 households out of which 30.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.6% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.4% were non-families. 29.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.93.
Enroll in the Best Physical Therapist College near Atlanta IL
Picking the right physical therapy school is an important initial decision you have to make to launch a rewarding career in the health care profession. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you pick should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are other important questions that you need to ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapist college, keep in mind that numerous factors will lead you toward your final decision. You may want to visit each of the colleges to see their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me achieve my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental 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 to become a practicing physical therapist in Atlanta IL.
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