How to Select a Physical Therapy Degree Program near Darien 60561
Getting a physical therapist degree near Darien IL is a critical first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled due to injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the necessary training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to investigate the ones you are considering to ensure they will furnish a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not 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 must be considered along with cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists work in varying settings, such as Darien IL hospitals, health clinics, 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 previously touched on, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a course of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Darien IL medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degree Options
There are three physical therapist degree options available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one degree that is attainable 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 progress to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degree levels that are available in the Darien IL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are most often made available by community colleges, and require 2 years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally part of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy training to prepare candidates to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they generally take 4 years to finish and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required in order to become a practicing licensed 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 complete, making the overall commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal component in addition to the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, 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 available in the USA. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Degrees
Although not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online part of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Darien IL residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition may be somewhat lower than similar on-campus options, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing 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.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you probably have come to decision regarding a few of your preliminary questions, like the kind of physical therapist degree you want to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Darien IL area and across Illinois, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college options. Furthermore, you want to make certain that you enroll in the school that is right for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Ask if the programs you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. 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 choose an online program, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several ways you can look into a PT college’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 organizations for their reviews as well. Call some Darien IL physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your school options. It may also be prudent to check with the Illinois Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapy programs you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Darien IL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or even excellent. It also verifies that the school has a wide network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you enroll in furnishes both exceptional training and a course of study 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 PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapy schools you are reviewing have associations with Darien IL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to receive 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 can help students and graduates form professional connections in the Darien health care community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit 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 want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Darien IL home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Support Offered? Most DPT colleges offer some form of financial support to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are considering have a financial assistance department and see what type of help is available. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. Some physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapy program you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Darien IL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Darien Illinois?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Darien IL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
The first people to settle in Darien came from New England via the Erie Canal and Great Lakes. Among the first to arrive was the Andres Neiman family. They settled along an old stagecoach line in 1835. Andres served as Justice of the Peace, Town Clerk, Assessor, Dog Catcher, and County Commissioner. He also established the Andres Inn, near what is currently the intersection of Lemont Road and I-55; the inn served the 15 stagecoaches that traveled the stagecoach line, and included a tavern and a post office. Andres named the area "Cass."
Andres and Father Beggs built the First Cass Church, which was a log cabin design. The church's cemetery, located west of where the church stood (west of Bailey Road and north of Frontage Road), can still be seen today. The church was also used as a school house.
Elisha and Eliza Smart settled in Darien in 1838 with their 10 children. Elisha joined the Gold Rush and left for California, returning seven years later as a very rich man. He bought more land and donated it, on which a new Cass Church was built in 1870.
Choose the Best Physical Therapy College near Darien IL
Picking the right physical therapist college is an important first decision you have to make to launch a fulfilling career in the healthcare profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you enroll in should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. But there are additional critical questions that you should ask regarding your college of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist school, bear in mind that many variables will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You might decide to go to each of the colleges to view their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Darien IL.
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