How to Choose a Physical Therapist Degree Program near Belleville 62220
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Belleville IL is an essential first step to launching a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated as a result of injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to investigate the ones you are thinking about to make sure they will furnish a superior education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is choose a college just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be considered in addition to cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists work in diverse locations, including Belleville IL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they create a program of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Belleville IL health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degree Options
There are three physical therapist degrees available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief summaries of degrees that are available in the Belleville IL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often made available by junior or community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy education to prep students to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally require 4 years to finish and often incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required if you want 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 total investment of time 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an important element in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not just 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 available in the United States. A number of practicing physical therapists holding 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 Therapist Colleges Online
Although not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapy programs available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Belleville IL residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition may be somewhat lower than comparable on campus options, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
By now you probably have made a decision concerning some of your preliminary queries, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the Belleville IL area and throughout Illinois, you’ll have to explore other qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of school choices. Furthermore, you need to make sure that you choose the school that is right for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are considering. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions prior to making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Ask if the programs you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. 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 select an online college, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can research a PT school’s reputation, starting 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 organizations for their reviews as well. Call a few Belleville IL physical therapy clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your college options. It might 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 colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist programs you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students dropped out due to displeasure 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 Belleville IL 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 outstanding. It also affirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the school you select furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies 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 program. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are reviewing have associations with Belleville IL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to get practical experience in a clinical setting, 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 relationships in the Belleville healthcare community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Belleville IL residence. Those who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Support Provided? The majority of DPT colleges provide some form of financial support to their potential students. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance department and find out what kind of assistance is offered. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapist program you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Belleville IL area, check 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 carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Belleville Illinois?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Belleville IL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Belleville (French: Belle ville, meaning "Beautiful city") is a city in St. Clair County, Illinois, coterminous with the now defunct Belleville Township. The population was 42,034 according to the Census Bureau's 2015 estimates.
It is the eighth-most populated city in the state outside the Chicago Metropolitan Area, and the most-populated city in the state south of Springfield. It is the county seat of St. Clair County, and the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Belleville and the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows.
Belleville is the most-populated city in the Metro-East region of the St. Louis Metropolitan Area and in Southern Illinois. Due to its proximity to Scott Air Force Base, the population receives a boost from military and federal civilian personnel, defense contractors, and military retirees.
Pick the Right Physical Therapy College near Belleville IL
Deciding on the best physical therapy school is a necessary first decision you need to make to begin a gratifying career in the healthcare profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you select should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. However there are additional relevant questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapist college, bear in mind that numerous variables will guide you to your final decision. You might want to go to different colleges to view their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed 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 choice. And with the proper training and education, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Belleville IL.
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