How to Enroll In a Physical Therapist Training Program near East Saint Louis 62201
Earning a physical therapist degree near East Saint Louis IL is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled due to injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the proper education and training. A PT must also become licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate those you are thinking about to make certain they will furnish a quality education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be considered in addition to location and cost. But before we discuss 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 Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of locations, including East Saint Louis IL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a program of treatment to address the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other East Saint Louis IL health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapy degree options offered for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degrees that are offered in the East Saint Louis IL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are usually offered by junior or community colleges, and take about two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to prep students to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible 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 take 4 years to complete and usually incorporate 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 also must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the overall commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an important element along with the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not just 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 phased out and is no longer available in the USA. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Programs
While not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined 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 program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s East Saint Louis IL home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition can be somewhat less than comparable on campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
At this point you probably have come to decision concerning a few of your preliminary queries, such as the type of physical therapist degree you intend to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the East Saint Louis IL area and across Illinois, you’ll have to look into other qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of college options. Moreover, you want to be sure that you pick the school that is right for you. That’s why we have collected a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Find out if the programs you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As earlier 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 school, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy 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 reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call several East Saint Louis IL physical therapy clinics or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested 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 see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of important statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapy programs you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students left due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the East Saint Louis IL area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or even outstanding. It also affirms that the school has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the school you enroll in furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the physical therapy schools you are reviewing have partnerships with East Saint Louis IL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional relationships in the East Saint Louis medical community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far 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 personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their East Saint Louis IL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble 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 have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Most DPT schools supply some type of financial aid to their prospective students. Ask if the schools you are considering have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of help is available. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapy college you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the East Saint Louis IL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near East Saint Louis Illinois?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the East Saint Louis IL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
East St. Louis, Illinois
East St. Louis is a city in St. Clair and Madison counties in southwestern Illinois. It is located across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri, in what is defined as the Metro-East region of Southern Illinois. Once a bustling industrial center, like many cities in the Rust Belt, East St. Louis has been severely affected by loss of jobs due to industrial restructuring during the second half of the 20th century. In 1950, East St. Louis was the fourth-largest city in Illinois when its population peaked at 82,366. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 27,006, less than one-third of the 1950 census.
A recent addition to the city's waterfront is the Gateway Geyser. Located on the grounds of Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park, the fountain is the second-tallest in the world. Designed to complement the Gateway Arch across the river in St. Louis, it shoots water to a height of 630 feet (190 m), the same height as the Arch.
Native Americans had long inhabited both sides of the Mississippi River. The Mississippian culture rulers organized thousands of workers to construct complex earthwork mounds at what later became St. Louis and East St. Louis. The center of this culture was the urban complex of Cahokia, located to the north of present-day East St. Louis within Collinsville, Illinois. Before the Civil War, settlers reported up to 50 mounds in the area that became East St. Louis, but most were lost to 19th-century development and later roadbuilding.
Choose the Ideal Physical Therapist Training Program near East Saint Louis IL
Deciding on the right physical therapy program is an important first decision you have to make to launch a fulfilling career in the healthcare profession. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you pick should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. But there are additional relevant questions that you should ask regarding your college of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapy college, keep in mind that a number of factors will guide you toward your final decision. You may decide to visit each of the campuses to view their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me realize 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 field so you can make the best choice. And with the proper education and training, you can accomplish your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in East Saint Louis IL.
A Few More Interesting Locations in Illinois
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