How to Enroll In a Physical Therapist Degree Program near Des Plaines 60016
Earning a physical therapy degree near Des Plaines IL is a critical first step to launching a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated due to injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to investigate the ones you are considering to make certain they will provide a quality education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be evaluated in addition to location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists practice in varying settings, including Des Plaines IL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they design a program of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Des Plaines IL health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
There are 3 physical therapist degree options available for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is attainable to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are brief explanations of degree levels that are offered in the Des Plaines IL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are usually made available by community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually part of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist education to prep students to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they generally take 4 years to complete and often incorporate 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 must also 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 finish, making the total investment of time 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an intregal component in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in a number of 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 USA. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Colleges Online
While not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy programs offered, 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 necessitates that the student live near the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online segment of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Des Plaines IL home. Online schools 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 a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you most likely have made a decision concerning several of your preliminary queries, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Des Plaines IL area and across Illinois, you’ll need to research other qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of school choices. Also, you want to make certain that you select the program that is ideal for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Find out if the schools 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 choose an online school, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Get in touch with a few Des Plaines IL physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your college options. It might also be a good idea to check with the Illinois Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two relevant statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy schools you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Des Plaines IL area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care field is good or even exceptional. It also verifies that the school has a wide network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment after graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the school you select provides both excellent training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the physical therapy programs you are reviewing have associations with Des Plaines IL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to get hands on 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 help students and graduates form professional relationships in the Des Plaines healthcare community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide 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 therapist colleges you are considering 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 determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Des Plaines IL home. Those who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required 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 don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT colleges provide some form of financial aid to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial aid office and find out what kind of aid is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. Some physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapy school you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Des Plaines IL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Des Plaines Illinois?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Des Plaines IL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Des Plaines, Illinois
Des Plaines /dɪs ˈpleɪnz/ is a city in Cook County, Illinois, United States. Its population was 58,364 at the 2010 census. The city is a suburb of Chicago and is located just north of O'Hare International Airport. It is situated on and is named after the Des Plaines River, which runs through the city just east of its downtown area.
Potawatomi, Ottawa, and Ojibwe (Chippewa) Native American tribes inhabited the Des Plaines River Valley prior to Europeans' arrival. When French explorers and missionaries arrived in the 1600s in what was then the Illinois Country of New France, they named the waterway La Rivière des Plaines (English translation: "River of the Plane Tree") as they felt that trees on the river resembled the European plane trees. The first white settlers came from the eastern United States in 1833, after the Treaty of Chicago, followed by many German immigrants during the 1840s and '50s. In the 1850s, the land in this area was purchased by the Illinois and Wisconsin Land Company along a railroad line planned between Chicago and Janesville, Wisconsin. In 1852, the developers built a steam-powered mill next to the river to cut local trees into railroad ties. Socrates Rand then bought the mill and converted it into a grist mill, which attracted local farmers. The Illinois and Wisconsin Railroad made its first stop in the area in the fall of 1854.
In 1857, the Chicago, St. Paul, and Fond du Lac Railroad began running its route, stopping near the mill on the Des Plaines river, where a small business section had grown up. The railroad platted the prospective town of Rand at the site. In 1859, the Chicago and North Western Railway purchased the rail line, giving the train station the name "Des Plaines". In 1869, the Rand subdivision's name was changed to Des Plaines, and the village of Des Plaines was then incorporated.
Choose the Right Physical Therapist College near Des Plaines IL
Deciding on the ideal physical therapy college is a necessary first decision you need to make to launch a fulfilling career in the health care field. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you decide on should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. But there are other critical questions that you should ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapy program, bear in mind that many variables will guide you to your final decision. You might decide to go to different campuses to see their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the right selection. And with the proper training and education, you can accomplish your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Des Plaines IL.
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