How to Select a Physical Therapy Degree Program near Aurora 60504
Getting a physical therapy degree near Aurora IL is an important first step to launching a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the appropriate training and education. A PT must also become licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to investigate those you are considering to make sure they will deliver a quality education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is enroll in a college just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be evaluated besides cost and location. 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?
Physical therapists practice in diverse settings, such as Aurora IL private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they create a program of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Aurora IL medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone considering entering the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are 3 physical therapist degree options offered for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short summaries of degree levels that are offered in the Aurora IL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare 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 made available by community colleges, and take about two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically a portion of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to ready students to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take 4 years to finish and usually include 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to finish, making the total investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential element in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in a number of 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 United States. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Schools Online
While not as common as the more traditional options, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees available, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the program may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Aurora IL home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition may be somewhat less than similar on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding a few of your initial queries, such as the kind of physical therapist 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 colleges within the Aurora IL area and throughout Illinois, you’ll need to research additional qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of school options. Also, you want to make certain that you choose the school that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are considering. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Find out if the programs you are looking at have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. 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 essential that both the physical therapy school and program you select are accredited, not just the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can research a PT school’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Get in touch with a few Aurora IL physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your school selections. It might also be prudent to contact the Illinois Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Aurora IL area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps excellent. It also affirms that the program has a large network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you select provides both excellent training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements 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 school. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the physical therapist schools you are interested in have associations with Aurora IL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to get practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Aurora medical community and help with job placement after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. 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 converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Aurora IL home. Students who have opted to attend online classes naturally 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 might need 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 Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT schools supply some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Find out if the colleges you are examining have a financial aid office and find out what type of help is available. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapy program you finally pick 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 evening or weekend classes in the Aurora IL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out 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 illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Aurora Illinois?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Aurora IL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Aurora, a suburb of Chicago, is a city predominantly in Kane County and DuPage County, with portions extending into Kendall and Will counties. It is in the outer region of Chicago metropolitan area in the U.S. state of Illinois. It is the second most populous city in the state, and the 114th most populous city in the country. The population was 197,899 at the 2010 census, and was estimated to have increased to 199,963 by July 2013.
Once a mid-sized manufacturing city, Aurora has grown tremendously since the 1960s. Founded within Kane County, Aurora's city limits and population have expanded into DuPage, Will, and Kendall counties. Between 2000 and 2003, the U.S. Census Bureau ranked Aurora as the 34th fastest-growing city in the United States. From 2000 to 2009, the U.S. Census Bureau ranked the city as the 46th fastest growing city with a population of over 100,000.
In 1908, Aurora adopted the nickname "City of Lights", because in 1881 it was one of the first cities in the United States to implement an all-electric street lighting system. Aurora's historic downtown is located on the Fox River, and centered on Stolp Island. The city is divided into three regions, the West Side, on the west side of the Fox River, the East Side, between the eastern bank of the Fox River and the Kane/DuPage County line, and the Far East Side/Fox Valley, which is from the County Line to the city's eastern border with Naperville.
Choose the Right Physical Therapist School near Aurora IL
Picking the best physical therapist school is a necessary initial decision you need to make to start a fulfilling career in the medical profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you choose should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are additional critical questions that you should ask regarding your college of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist program, bear in mind that many factors will lead you toward your final decision. You may want to go to each of the colleges to see their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me reach my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the ideal selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Aurora IL.
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