How to Find the Right Physical Therapist Degree Program near Dunlap 61525
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Dunlap IL is an essential first step to launching a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated due to injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the proper training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research the ones you are thinking about to ensure they will furnish a quality education and meet your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is choose a college just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated along with location and cost. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in varying locations, such as Dunlap IL private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. 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 often pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a course of treatment to address the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also strive 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
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Dunlap IL health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to take note of for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Offered
There are three physical therapy degrees offered for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degrees that are offered in the Dunlap IL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are most often made available by community colleges, and take about two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a component of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training to prepare candidates to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take 4 years to finish and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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 three years to complete, making the overall investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an important component along with the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in a number of states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer attainable in the United States. 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 implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Programs
While not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the curriculum can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Dunlap IL home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition can be significantly less than comparable on-campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
By now you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding some of your initial questions, such as the type of physical therapy 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 schools within the Dunlap IL area and throughout Illinois, you’ll have to look into other qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Furthermore, you want to make certain that you pick the college that is right for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Find out if the schools you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As earlier stated, 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 imperative that both the physical therapy school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Get in touch with some Dunlap IL physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your school selections. 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 two relevant statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students left because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Dunlap IL area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even outstanding. It also verifies that the school has a wide network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the program you enroll in furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Illinois or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are assessing have relationships with Dunlap IL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Dunlap healthcare community and assist with job placement once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist school they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Dunlap IL residence. Individuals who have decided 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. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly 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? The majority of DPT schools provide some type of financial aid to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial assistance department and see what kind of help is obtainable. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapy program you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Dunlap IL area, confirm 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 have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Dunlap Illinois?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Dunlap IL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Dunlap, located on Illinois 91, is a small village in Peoria County Illinois, United States. Its population was 1,386 people as of the 2010 census. Dunlap is part of the Peoria metropolitan area and growth in the city of Peoria is extending towards the village. There are only a handful of businesses in the village's 16 blocks.
The town of Dunlap was officially established on June 12, 1871 on 40 acres of land owned by Alva Dunlap. The town was originally located on the Rock Island Railroad. The site of his former home is now occupied by the Prospect United Methodist Church. The meeting of the first Dunlap Village Council was on January 7, 1952, and the town petitioned for incorporation on February 19, 1952. The current Village Hall was built in 1995.
A post office has been in operation at Dunlap since 1871. Police services are provided by the Peoria County Sheriff’s Office. The Dunlap Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad was established in 1899.
Choose the Best Physical Therapist Degree Program near Dunlap IL
Picking the best physical therapy school is an important first decision you have to make to begin a rewarding career in the health care field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you select should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. However there are additional important questions that you need to ask pertaining to your school of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapy college, keep in mind that numerous factors will guide you to your final decision. You may decide to go to different schools to see their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the right selection. And with the proper training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Dunlap IL.
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