How to Select a Physical Therapy Degree Program near Edwards 61528
Earning a physical therapist degree near Edwards IL is an important first step to launching a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated due to illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the necessary education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to research the ones you are looking at to make sure they will deliver a quality education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is select a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be evaluated besides cost and location. But before we discuss 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 practice in diverse settings, including Edwards 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 the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they create a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also strive to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Edwards IL health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are 3 physical therapist degrees available for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief summaries of degree levels that are available in the Edwards IL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are usually made available by junior or community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to ready students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take four years to finish and commonly include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated in order to become a practicing licensed 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 3 years to complete, making the total commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an intregal component along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not just for graduation but in several 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 even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Schools
While not as common as the on campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online part of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Edwards IL residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition may be somewhat lower than similar on campus options, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And a number 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 disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
At this point you probably have come to decision concerning several of your preliminary queries, including the kind of physical therapist degree you intend to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Edwards IL area and throughout Illinois, you’ll have to explore other qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of college choices. Also, you need to make sure that you pick the program that is best for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions prior to making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Ask if the schools you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. 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 program, it may also receive 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, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, beginning with requesting 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 a few Edwards IL physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your program options. It might also be prudent to contact the Illinois Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. 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, how many of them are being hired with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Edwards IL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or even outstanding. It also affirms that the college has a large network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the program you select provides both excellent training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria for Illinois or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the physical therapy schools you are interested in have associations with Edwards IL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Edwards healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Edwards IL home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously 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 bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Support Provided? Most DPT schools supply some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department and find out what kind of aid is available. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapist college you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Edwards IL area, confirm 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 enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Edwards Illinois?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Edwards IL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Edwards County, Illinois
Edwards County is a county located in the U.S. state of Illinois. As of the 2010 census, the population was 6,721. Its county seat is Albion. It is located in the southern portion known locally as "Little Egypt".
Edwards County is subdivided into "Road Districts", rather than "Townships" as in most Illinois counties. Pursuant to the Land Ordinance of 1785, the Northwest Territory (including Illinois) was surveyed and mostly organized into townships that are six miles square; but Edwards County was settled prior to that survey, and its pre-existing Road Districts do not generally correspond with the survey's townships.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 223 square miles (580 km2), of which 222 square miles (570 km2) is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2) (0.1%) is water. It is the fourth-smallest county in Illinois by area.
Enroll in the Ideal Physical Therapy College near Edwards IL
Choosing the right physical therapist program is a necessary first decision you must make to begin a rewarding career in the healthcare profession. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you decide on should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. But there are additional critical questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapist program, bear in mind that numerous variables will lead you to your final decision. You might decide to visit different colleges to see their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the best choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Edwards IL.
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