How to Find the Right Physical Therapist Program near Elgin 60120
Getting a physical therapy degree near Elgin IL is an essential first step to starting a fulfilling career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated due to injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the appropriate training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to investigate those you are thinking about to make certain they will furnish a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is choose a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be considered besides cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in diverse locations, including Elgin IL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a program of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Elgin IL medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapist degrees offered for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degrees that are offered in the Elgin IL area:
- Associate Degrees train 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 equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are most often provided by community colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally part of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy training to ready candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they normally require 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 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 finish, making the overall investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential element along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in some states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer available in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Online Colleges
Although not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the curriculum can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Elgin IL home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition may be significantly lower than comparable on campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
By now you probably have made a decision concerning a few of your initial questions, including the type of physical therapist degree you intend to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Elgin IL area and across Illinois, you’ll need to research other qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of school choices. Also, you need to be sure that you enroll in the college that is right for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national 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 select an online school, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist program and school you select are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT program’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Get in touch with some Elgin IL physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your college options. It might also be prudent 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 Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students dropped out 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 school’s job placement program, particularly in the Elgin IL area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even outstanding. It also affirms that the college has a broad network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you select provides both superior training and a course of study that satisfies 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 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 as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist programs you are evaluating have relationships with Elgin IL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional connections in the Elgin health care community and help with job placement once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Elgin IL residence. Those who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose 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 normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? The majority of DPT schools provide some form of financial support to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are examining have a financial aid office and find out what type of help is available. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. Some physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapy school you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Elgin IL area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Elgin Illinois?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Elgin IL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Elgin (/ˈɛldʒɪn/ EL-jin) is a city in Cook and Kane counties in the northern part of the U.S. state of Illinois. Located roughly 35 mi (56 km) northwest of Chicago, it lies along the Fox River. As of 2013, the city had a total population of 110,145, making it the eighth-largest city in Illinois.
The Indian Removal Act of 1830 and the Black Hawk Indian War of 1832 led to the expulsion of the Native Americans who had settlements and burial mounds in the area, and set the stage for the founding of Elgin. Thousands of militiamen and soldiers of Gen. Winfield Scott's army marched through the Fox River valley during the war, and accounts of the area's fertile soils and flowing springs soon filtered east.
In New York, James T. Gifford and his brother Hezekiah Gifford heard tales of this area ripe for settlement, and travelled west. Looking for a site on the stagecoach route from Chicago to Galena, Illinois, they eventually settled on a spot where the Fox River could be bridged. In April 1835, they established the city, naming it after the Scottish tune "Elgin".
Choose the Ideal Physical Therapy College near Elgin IL
Deciding on the ideal physical therapy school is an important initial decision you need to make to launch a gratifying career in the healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you pick should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are additional important questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapist college, bear in mind that many factors will guide you toward your final decision. You may decide to visit each of the schools to see their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me reach my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Elgin IL.
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