How to Enroll In a Physical Therapy Degree Program near Champaign 61820
Earning a physical therapy degree near Champaign IL is an essential first step to launching a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the proper training and education. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research those you are looking at to make sure they will supply a quality education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is select a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be evaluated in addition to 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’s Job Description?
Physical therapists practice in diverse settings, including Champaign IL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Champaign IL medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
There are 3 physical therapy degrees available for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short descriptions of degrees that are available in the Champaign IL area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become 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 usually offered by community colleges, and require two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist education to ready candidates to move up 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 practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally take four years to finish and usually incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program must also 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 commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential component in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in a number of 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 phased out and is no longer attainable in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Programs Online
Although not as prevalent as the more traditional options, there are a number of 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 incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online part of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Champaign IL residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition can be significantly less than similar on-campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
By now you most likely have come to decision concerning some of your preliminary questions, like the type of physical therapist degree you want to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Champaign IL area and across Illinois, you’ll have to explore additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school options. Furthermore, you want to be sure that you choose the college that is right for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Ask if the schools you are considering have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online program, it may also obtain 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, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several ways you can investigate a PT program’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with several Champaign IL physical therapy centers or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your college options. It may also be prudent to contact the Illinois Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two significant statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Champaign IL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even exceptional. It also confirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the program you choose furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for Illinois or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the physical therapist schools you are assessing have associations with Champaign IL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Champaign medical community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost 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 researching 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 an opportunity to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Champaign IL home. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT schools supply some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are considering have a financial assistance office and find out what type of help is available. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapy program you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Champaign IL area, verify that they are offered. 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 need to enroll in. Also, ask 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 Champaign Illinois?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Champaign IL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Champaign (English: /ˌʃæmˈpeɪn/) is a city in Champaign County, Illinois, United States. The city is 135 miles (217 km) south of Chicago, 124 miles (200 km) west of Indianapolis, Indiana, and 178 mi (286 km) northeast of St. Louis, Missouri. The United States Census Bureau estimates the city was home to 87,432 people as of July 1, 2017. Champaign is the tenth-most populous city in Illinois, and the state's fourth-most populous city outside the Chicago metropolitan area. It is included in the Champaign–Urbana metropolitan area.
Champaign is notable for sharing the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign with its sister city of Urbana. Champaign is also home to Parkland College which serves about 18,000 students during the academic year. Due to the university and a number of well known technology startup companies, it is often referred to as the hub, or a significant landmark, of the Silicon Prairie. Champaign houses offices for Sony, and for the Fortune 500 companies Abbott, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Caterpillar, Deere & Company, Dow Chemical Company, IBM, and State Farm.
Champaign was founded in 1855, when the Illinois Central Railroad laid its rail track two miles (3 km) west of downtown Urbana. Originally called "West Urbana", it was renamed Champaign when it acquired a city charter in 1860. Both the city and county name were derived from Champaign County, Ohio.
Enroll in the Best Physical Therapy College near Champaign IL
Picking the right physical therapist school is a necessary first decision you have to make to begin a fulfilling career in the healthcare profession. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you select should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. But there are additional relevant questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapy college, bear in mind that numerous factors will guide you toward your final decision. You might decide to visit each of the campuses to view their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program 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 ideal choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Champaign IL.
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