How to Select a Physical Therapist Training Program near Chicago Ridge 60415
Getting a physical therapy degree near Chicago Ridge IL is an essential first step to starting a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated due to illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the necessary education and training. A PT must also be licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to research those you are looking at to make sure they will furnish a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is enroll in a college just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be considered besides location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, 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 varying settings, such as Chicago Ridge IL private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to address the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Chicago Ridge IL health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee 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 going into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degree Options
There are three physical therapist degrees offered for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief explanations of degrees that are offered in the Chicago Ridge IL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually made available by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a component of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy education to prep candidates to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically require 4 years to finish and often 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). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to complete, making the total investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical training is an important component in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in some 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 practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Programs
While not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist degrees available, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the program may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Chicago Ridge IL home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition can be significantly lower than similar on campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
At this point you most likely have made a decision concerning a few of your initial questions, like the type of physical therapist degree you want to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Chicago Ridge IL area and throughout Illinois, you’ll have to research other qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of college choices. Also, you need to make certain that you select the school that is right for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are considering. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are looking at have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you select an online college, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring 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 Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Contact some Chicago Ridge IL physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your college 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 colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Chicago Ridge IL area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or even exceptional. It also confirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the school you enroll in furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements for Illinois or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapy schools you are assessing have relationships with Chicago Ridge IL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to obtain 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 may assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Chicago Ridge healthcare community and help with job placement once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor 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 perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Chicago Ridge IL home. Those who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need 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 live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Most DPT schools provide some form of financial support to their potential students. Find out if the colleges you are examining have a financial aid office and find out what type of assistance is obtainable. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. Some physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating 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 verify that the physical therapy program you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Chicago Ridge IL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative 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 because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Chicago Ridge Illinois?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Chicago Ridge IL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Chicago Ridge, Illinois
Incorporated on October 17, 1914, the village has an area of approximately 2.2 square miles (5.7 km2) and is located in the southwestern portion of Cook County, Illinois, about 20 miles (32 km) southwest of downtown Chicago.
The path of Stony Creek arcs through the village. It is not only an old creek but also the remnants of a feeder canal for the Illinois & Michigan Canal that reached from the Little Calumet River westward through the Saganash-kee Slough. Although the work on the feeder canal brought some settlers in the 1840s, German and Dutch farmers arrived after the 1850s.
Settlement increased with the coming of the Wabash, St. Louis & Pacific Railroad in 1882. Later, the Wabash would be crossed in the middle of Chicago Ridge by the Chicago and Calumet Terminal Railway, which also established rail yards in the village.
Pick the Best Physical Therapist College near Chicago Ridge IL
Choosing the right physical therapist school is an important first decision you must make to launch a fulfilling career in the health care profession. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you enroll in should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. But there are additional critical questions that you need to ask regarding your school of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist college, bear in mind that a number of variables will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might decide to visit each of the colleges to see their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the ideal selection. And with the proper training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Chicago Ridge IL.
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