How to Select a Physical Therapy Degree Program near Blue Island 60406
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Blue Island IL is a critical first step to launching a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled due to injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the proper training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate those you are considering to ensure they will deliver a quality education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is select a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated along with location and cost. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists practice in diverse locations, such as Blue Island IL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes 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 suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they create a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Blue Island IL health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Offered
There are 3 physical therapy degree options available for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degree levels that are available in the Blue Island IL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be 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 equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often offered by junior or community colleges, and require two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to prepare students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically require 4 years to complete and usually include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement in order to become a licensed practicing 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 three years to finish, making the total investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an essential component in addition to the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in several states for licensing also.
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 licensed physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Programs Online
Although not as prevalent as the on-campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist programs available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Blue Island IL home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition can be significantly lower than comparable on campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
By now you most likely have come to decision regarding some of your preliminary questions, such as the type of physical therapist degree you would like to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Blue Island IL area and across Illinois, you’ll have to research additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college options. Moreover, you want to make sure that you enroll in the college that is right for you. That’s why we have collected a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist programs you are considering. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Ask if the schools you are looking at have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As previously 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 program, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy school and program you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to guaranteeing that you obtain 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? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Get in touch with a few Blue Island IL physical therapy clinics or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your school selections. 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 School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Blue Island IL area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or even exceptional. It also confirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you enroll in furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria 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) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the physical therapist schools you are assessing have relationships with Blue Island IL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Blue Island healthcare community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type 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. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Blue Island IL home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes 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 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 might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? The majority of DPT schools provide some form of financial aid to their potential students. Find out if the colleges you are examining have a financial aid department and find out what kind of aid is offered. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. A number of physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapy school you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Blue Island IL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Blue Island Illinois?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Blue Island IL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Blue Island, Illinois
Blue Island is a city in Cook County, Illinois, located approximately 16 miles (26 km) south of Chicago's Loop. Blue Island is adjacent to the city of Chicago and shares its northern boundary with that city's Morgan Park neighborhood. The population was 23,706 at the 2010 United States Census.
Blue Island was established in the 1830s as a way station for settlers traveling on the Vincennes Trace, and the settlement prospered because it was conveniently situated a day's journey outside of Chicago. The late-nineteenth-century historian and publisher Alfred T. Andreas made the following observation regarding the appearance of the young community in History of Cook County Illinois (1884), "The location of Blue Island Village is a beautiful one. Nowhere about Chicago is there to be found a more pleasant and desirable resident locality."
Since its founding, the city has been an important commercial center in the south Cook County region, although its position in that respect has been eclipsed in recent years as other significant population centers developed around it and the region's commercial resources became spread over a wider area. In addition to its broad long-standing industrial base, the city enjoyed notable growth in the 1840s during the construction of the feeder canal (now the Calumet Sag Channel) for the Illinois and Michigan Canal and as the center of a large brick-making industry beginning in the 1850s, which eventually gave Blue Island the status of brick-making capitol of the world. Beginning in 1883, Blue Island was also host to the car shops of the Rock Island Railroad. Blue Island was home to several breweries, who used the east side of the hill to store their product before the advent of refrigeration, until the Eighteenth Amendment made these breweries illegal in 1919. A large regional hospital and two major clinics are also located in the city.
Select the Right Physical Therapist Degree Program near Blue Island IL
Deciding on the right physical therapist program is an important initial decision you need to make to launch a rewarding career in the healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you enroll in should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. But there are other relevant questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapy college, bear in mind that numerous variables will lead you toward your final decision. You may decide to go to each of the campuses to view their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me realize my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the right selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Blue Island IL.
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