How to Enroll In a Physical Therapy Degree Program near Chester 62233
Getting a physical therapy degree near Chester IL is an important first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they may legally 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 mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to investigate the ones you are considering to ensure they will supply a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is choose a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be considered along with cost and location. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists practice in varying locations, including Chester IL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes 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 frequently pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Chester IL health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also supervise 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 thinking about entering the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapy degree options offered for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, 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 prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief summaries of degree levels that are offered in the Chester IL area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or may 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 programs are typically provided by community colleges, and take about two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically part of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training to ready candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they generally take 4 years to finish and usually include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the overall commitment 7 years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential element in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in some states for licensing also.
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 even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Colleges
While not as common as the on-campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapy programs available, more so at the graduate level. Because of 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 school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the curriculum can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Chester IL residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition may be significantly less than similar on-campus options, and costs for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
At this point you most likely have made a decision regarding a few of your initial queries, like the type of physical therapy degree you intend to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Chester IL area and across Illinois, you’ll need to research other qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of school choices. Also, you want to make certain that you pick the program that is best for you. That’s why we have collected a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are considering. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously stated, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online school, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can research a PT school’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Contact several Chester IL physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your college selections. It might 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 School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two useful statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist schools you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest 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 hired with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Chester IL area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also affirms that the program has a large network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the program you enroll in provides both excellent training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Illinois or the state where you will be working. 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 program. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are assessing have relationships with Chester IL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to receive practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Chester medical community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Chester IL residence. Students who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something 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 need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? The majority of DPT schools offer some form of financial support to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid department and find out what kind of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapy college you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Chester IL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Chester Illinois?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Chester IL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Chester is a city in and the county seat of Randolph County, Illinois, United States, on a bluff above the Mississippi River. The population was 8,586 at the 2010 census. It lies 61 miles (98 km) south of St. Louis, Missouri.
Samuel Smith built the first home in Chester, established a ferry system, and began the construction of a mill in 1829. He is said to be the town's founder. It was his wife Jane Smith, a native of Chester, England, who gave Chester its name as a tribute to her home town. The first business in Chester was a general store that opened in 1830 along with a castor oil press established by R. B. Servant, who furnished farmers with seed and growing methods to later buy the beans they produced for oil extraction. This was a flourishing business until the petroleum industry made it obsolete. The first wedding in the town of Chester was held on February 4, 1834. Content Walker, the bride and Amzi Andrews, the groom held their wedding in a 16 feet square log cabin.
The H.C. Cole Milling Company was founded by Nathan Cole in 1839. It started out as a small sawmill with a corn-grinding attachment which encouraged the townspeople to plant grains, and in a short time the first Cole flour mill was built. The mill still exists in Chester but it is now operated by Ardent Mills. Nathan Cole also brought the first electric generator to Chester and used the surplus of power from the mill to operate street lights. This was a modern convenience that was not even available in Chicago at that point. The generator is now on display at the Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.
Enroll in the Best Physical Therapy Degree Program near Chester IL
Selecting the best physical therapy school is a necessary initial decision you must make to start a rewarding career in the healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you choose should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. However there are additional important questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapist program, bear in mind that numerous variables will guide you to your final decision. You may decide to go to each of the campuses to view their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me reach 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 selection. And with the proper training and education, you can achieve your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Chester IL.
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