How to Select a Physical Therapist College near Cambridge 61238
Obtaining a physical therapy degree near Cambridge IL is an important first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated as a result of injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the necessary education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to investigate those you are considering to ensure they will furnish a quality education and meet your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be considered besides location and cost. But before we talk about 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 varying settings, such as Cambridge IL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor 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
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Cambridge IL health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to take note of 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 stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Offered
There are 3 physical therapist degrees available for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are brief summaries of degree levels that are offered in the Cambridge IL area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often offered 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 program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist education to ready candidates to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take four years to finish and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required if you want to become a licensed practicing 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 overall investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal component along with the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in some states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer attainable in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Schools
While not as common as the more traditional alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Cambridge IL residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat less than similar on campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring 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.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding several of your preliminary questions, such as the type of physical therapist degree you intend to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Cambridge IL area and throughout Illinois, you’ll need to explore additional qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of school choices. Moreover, you need to be sure that you choose the school that is right for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are considering. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Ask if the schools you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. 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 enroll in an online program, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapist program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several 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 search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Call some Cambridge IL physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your program 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 College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might mean that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Cambridge IL area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or even exceptional. It also verifies that the college has a wide network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the school you enroll in furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements for Illinois or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapist schools you are evaluating have associations with Cambridge IL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to get hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Cambridge medical community and help with job placement once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small 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 typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate 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 also.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Cambridge IL residence. Those 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 college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Most DPT schools offer some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid office and find out what type of aid is offered. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapist school you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Cambridge IL area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Cambridge Illinois?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Cambridge IL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Before 1843, the land where Cambridge is currently located was the private property of a man named Rev. Ithamar Pillsbury, who was very well known amongst the Yankee settlers (migrants from New England and upstate New York who were descended from the English Puritans who settled New England in the 1600s) who were moving to Henry County in large numbers at that time. Reverend Pillsbury deeded a large portion of his land to the town council and they immediately agreed it was a good place to lay out a town. Lots were sold to incoming migrants and on June 9 of 1843 (after some quarreling among the town founders about how to finance it) construction began on the town. Roads were laid out, post routes established, public buildings erected and people were invited to move there. The original settlers were entirely of New England origins or were Yankees from upstate New York whose families had moved to that place from New England only one generation earlier, in the aftermath of the Revolutionary War. This resulted in Henry County being culturally very contiguous with early New England culture.
According to the 2010 census, Cambridge has a total area of 2.154 square miles (5.58 km2), of which 2.14 square miles (5.54 km2) (or 99.35%) is land and 0.014 square miles (0.04 km2) (or 0.65%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,180 people, 856 households, and 595 families residing in the village. The population density was 1,540.2 people per square mile (592.7/km²). There were 896 housing units at an average density of 633.0 per square mile (243.6/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 98.17% White, 0.78% African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.32% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, and 0.50% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.46% of the population.
Enroll in the Ideal Physical Therapist School near Cambridge IL
Choosing the right physical therapist school is an important first decision you have to make to launch a gratifying career in the medical field. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you select should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. But there are additional important questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapist school, keep in mind that numerous variables will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You might decide to visit different schools to see their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the best selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Cambridge IL.
A Few More Interesting Locations in Illinois
Business Results 1 - 10 of 8