How to Select a Physical Therapy Training Program near Berkeley 60163
Obtaining a physical therapy degree near Berkeley IL is a critical first step to launching a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated due to illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the appropriate training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate the ones you are thinking about to make certain they will supply a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is enroll in a college simply 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 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 is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists work in a variety of settings, including Berkeley IL private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all share 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 suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Berkeley IL health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also manage several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Offered
There are 3 physical therapy degree options offered for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degrees that are available in the Berkeley IL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are most often made available by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally part of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist education to prep students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally require four years to finish 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 three years to finish, making the overall investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an important component along with the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in several states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has taken the place of the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer offered in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Degrees
Although not as prevalent as the on-campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online portion of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Berkeley IL residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat lower than similar on campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
By now you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding a few of your preliminary questions, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Berkeley IL area and across Illinois, you’ll need to research other qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of school choices. Also, you want to make certain that you select the program that is right for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are considering. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are looking at 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 enroll in an online school, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not just the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can research a PT college’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Call a few Berkeley IL physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your program options. It may also be prudent to check with the Illinois Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist schools you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Berkeley 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 exceptional. It also verifies that the college has a broad network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the school you select furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements for Illinois or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with 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 exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are reviewing have associations with Berkeley IL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Berkeley health care community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy 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 final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Berkeley IL residence. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local 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 perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Most DPT colleges supply some type of financial support to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid office and find out what type of assistance is available. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. A number of physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapist program you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Berkeley IL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check 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 may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Berkeley Illinois?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Berkeley IL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Berkeley is on Cook County's western border, 14 miles west of the Chicago Loop. With Interstates 290 and 294 forming its western and part of its southern boundary, and the Union Pacific Railroad (formerly the Chicago & North Western) and the large Proviso Railyard (a classification yard) to the north, Berkeley has ready access to the metropolitan region. Yet the transportation corridors that make Berkeley accessible to distant places also serve to separate the village from its nearest neighbors, creating a small-town atmosphere.
Beginning in 1835 the area that was to become Berkeley was home to farmers, most of German and Dutch ancestry. Settling on farms that ranged from 40 to 160 acres, the Dutch tended to be truck farmers, while the Germans did general farming. This small group of farm families established a one-room school called Sunnyside in 1848. Now housed in a larger and newer building, Sunnyside Elementary School still operates today. A short distance west on St. Charles Road (which was completed in 1836), farmland was donated for what is now known as Old Settler's Cemetery.
The 1902 completion of the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin Railroad (interurban) gave the area its first passenger rail service at a stop called Berkeley. Subdivision in 1908 and again in 1914–1915 brought residential construction and new residents, many of whom were English, to the area. At the initiative of these newcomers, the village of Berkeley incorporated in 1924.
Select the Right Physical Therapy School near Berkeley IL
Choosing the best physical therapist program is a necessary initial decision you must make to begin a rewarding career in the medical field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you decide on should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are additional relevant questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapy program, bear in mind that a number of factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might decide to go to different colleges to view their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me reach 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 right selection. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Berkeley IL.
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