How to Pick a Physical Therapy College near Elwood 60421
Earning a physical therapist degree near Elwood IL is an important first step to starting a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled due to injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the necessary education and training. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research the ones you are looking at to ensure they will deliver a quality education and meet your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is select a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be considered along with location and cost. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of settings, such as Elwood IL private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they create a program of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also strive to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Elwood IL health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are three physical therapy degree options offered for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is attainable to become 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. Following are brief explanations of degree levels that are available in the Elwood IL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually provided by community or junior colleges, and take about two years to complete. 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 training to ready students to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically 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 3 years to finish, making the overall investment of time seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential component along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor 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 USA. A number of practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Programs
Although not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs available, even more at the graduate level. Due to 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 college campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online segment of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Elwood IL residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition can be somewhat lower than comparable on campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
By now you probably have made a decision concerning a few of your preliminary questions, such as the type of physical therapy degree you intend to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the Elwood IL area and throughout Illinois, you’ll need to explore additional qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college options. Also, you want to make sure that you pick the college that is best for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Find out if the programs you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As previously stated, 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 earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can research a PT college’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with several Elwood IL physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer 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 colleges.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of important statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapist schools you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction 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 Elwood IL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps excellent. It also verifies that the college has a large network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the college you choose provides both superior training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements for Illinois or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapy schools you are assessing have relationships with Elwood IL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional connections in the Elwood medical community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are considering 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 determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapist school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Elwood IL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble 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 decide to enroll in a college 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 typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Support Offered? The majority of DPT colleges provide some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at have a financial aid office and find out what kind of help is obtainable. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapy school you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Elwood IL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Elwood Illinois?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Elwood IL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Elwood is located at 41°24′49″N 88°6′38″W / 41.41361°N 88.11056°W / 41.41361; -88.11056 (41.413615, -88.110438). The nearest major highways are Interstate 80 to the north and Interstate 55 to the west. The former Route 66 highway passes through the village on the east side. According to the 2010 census, Elwood has a total area of 6.53 square miles (16.91 km2), all land.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 2,279 people, 880 households, and 630 families residing in the village. The racial makeup of the village was 94.9 percent White, 1.5 percent African American, 0.1 percent Native American, 0.5 percent Asian, 0.06 percent Pacific Islander, 2.2 percent from other races, and 0.8 percent from two or more races. Hispanics and Latinos of any race were 6.3 percent of the population.
There were 880 households out of which 35.2 percent had children under the age of 18 living within, 58.3 percent were husband-wife family living together, 9.2 percent had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.4 percent were non-families. 24.1 percent of all households were made up of individuals and 28.4 percent had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59 and the average family size was 3.08.
Pick the Best Physical Therapy Training Program near Elwood IL
Deciding on the ideal physical therapist college is an important first decision you need to make to begin a gratifying career in the health care field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you enroll in should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. But there are other critical questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapy college, keep in mind that a number of variables will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might want to go to each of the schools to see their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me realize my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Elwood IL.
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