How to Choose a Physical Therapy Program near Bloomington 61701
Earning a physical therapist degree near Bloomington IL is a critical first step to starting a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the proper 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 college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to research the ones you are thinking about to make sure they will furnish a superior education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is choose a college just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be evaluated along with cost and location. But before we cover 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 Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in varying locations, including Bloomington 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 illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Bloomington IL health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, 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 thinking about getting into 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 long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are 3 physical therapy degrees offered for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short descriptions of degree levels that are offered in the Bloomington IL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are most often provided by community colleges, and require 2 years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist education to ready candidates to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they generally take 4 years to finish and commonly include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the overall commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an important component along with the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not just 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 holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Online Schools
Although not as common as the on-campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the school campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online part of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Bloomington IL residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition may be significantly lower than similar on campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
By now you probably have come to decision regarding a few of your initial questions, including the kind of physical therapist degree you want to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the Bloomington IL area and across Illinois, you’ll have to look into other qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of college choices. Furthermore, you want to be sure that you select the college 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 therapy schools you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Ask if the programs you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As earlier stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you enroll in an online college, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapist 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 may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with a few Bloomington IL physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight 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 schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapist schools you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Bloomington IL area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also verifies that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you enroll in provides both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the physical therapy programs you are assessing have associations with Bloomington IL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Bloomington medical community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Bloomington IL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble 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 choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? The majority of DPT colleges supply some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department and see what type of aid is available. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial aid may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapist college you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Bloomington IL area, make sure that they are offered. 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 protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Bloomington Illinois?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Bloomington IL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Bloomington is a city in and the county seat of McLean County, Illinois, United States. It is adjacent to Normal, and is the more populous of the two principal municipalities of the Bloomington-Normal metropolitan area.
The 2010 census showed the city had a population of 76,610, making it the 12th most populated city in Illinois, and the fifth-most populous city in the state outside the Chicago Metropolitan Area. Combined with Normal, the twin cities have a population of roughly 130,000.
Bloomington is located at 40°29′03″N 88°59′37″W. The city is at an elevation of 797 feet (243 m) above sea level. According to the 2010 census, Bloomington has a total area of 27.229 square miles (70.52 km2), of which 27.22 square miles (70.50 km2) (or 99.97%) is land and 0.009 square miles (0.02 km2) (or 0.03%) is water.
Select the Ideal Physical Therapist Degree Program near Bloomington IL
Picking the ideal physical therapist college is a necessary initial decision you have to make to begin a rewarding career in the medical field. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you decide on should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are additional relevant questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist program, keep in mind that numerous variables will guide you toward your final decision. You may decide to go to each of the campuses to see their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me realize my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the right choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Bloomington IL.
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