Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – Evanston IL

How to Pick a Physical Therapy Program near Evanston 60201

Evanston IL physical therapy school student with volunteerReceiving a physical therapy degree near Evanston IL is a critical first step to launching a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated due to illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the appropriate training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to investigate those you are looking at to ensure they will deliver a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is select a college just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be considered besides cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.

What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?

Evanston IL physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists practice in diverse settings, such as Evanston IL private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also strive to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Head injuries.
  • Cardiac arrest.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
  • Fire injuries.
  • Knee Replacement.
  • Sciatica.
  • Cerebral Palsy.

Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Evanston IL medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees Available

Evanston IL physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are 3 physical therapist degree options available for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degree levels that are available in the Evanston IL area:

  • Associate Degrees educate students to be 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 qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often made available by junior or community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually part of the course of study.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy education to ready students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally require four years to finish and commonly include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are required if you want to become a practicing licensed physical therapist. The degree program also must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the total commitment 7 years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal element along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not just for graduation but in a number of states for licensing as well.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer offered in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapy Schools Online

woman attending physical therapy school online in Evanston ILWhile not as prevalent as the more traditional alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy programs available, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online part of the program may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Evanston IL home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat less than comparable on campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges

At this point you probably have come to decision regarding several of your preliminary questions, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you intend to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Evanston IL area and throughout Illinois, you’ll have to explore additional qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of school choices. Furthermore, you need to make certain that you enroll in the program that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing schools these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited?  Find out if the schools you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. 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 enroll in an online college, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the School’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact a few Evanston IL physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your school options. 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 College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of useful statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapist colleges you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students left due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once 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 Evanston IL area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also confirms that the college has a broad network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you select provides both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements for Illinois or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. While licensing requirements fluctuate 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? Ask if the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing have partnerships with Evanston IL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Evanston health care community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized 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 want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.

Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Evanston IL residence. Students who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry 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 program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT colleges supply some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are considering have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of aid is offered. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid might be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist college you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Evanston IL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Evanston Illinois?

If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Evanston IL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.

Evanston, Illinois

Evanston (/ˈɛvənstən/) is a city in Cook County, Illinois, United States, 12 miles (19 km) north of downtown Chicago, bordered by Chicago to the south, Skokie to the west, and Wilmette to the north. It had a population of 74,486 as of 2010[update].[6] It is one of the North Shore communities that adjoin Lake Michigan and is the home of Northwestern University. The boundaries of the city of Evanston are coterminous with those of the former Evanston Township, which was dissolved in 2014 by voters with its functions being absorbed by the city of Evanston.[7]

Prior to the 1830s, the area now occupied by Evanston was mainly uninhabited, consisting largely of wetlands and swampy forest. However, Potawatomi Indians used trails along higher lying ridges that ran in a general north-south direction through the area, and had at least some semi-permanent settlements along the trails.

French explorers referred to the general area as "Grosse Pointe" after a point of land jutting into Lake Michigan about 13 miles (21 km) north of the mouth of the Chicago River. After the first non-Native Americans settled in the area in 1836, the names "Grosse Point Territory" and "Gross Point voting district" were used through the 1830s and 1840s, although the territory had no defined boundaries.[8][9] The area remained only sparsely settled, supporting some farming and lumber activity on some of the higher ground, as well as a number of taverns or "hotels" along the ridge roads. Grosse Pointe itself steadily eroded into the lake during this period.

Pick the Ideal Physical Therapist Training Program near Evanston IL

Selecting the best physical therapy school is an important initial decision you must make to begin a gratifying career in the medical profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you pick should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are other critical questions that you should ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist college, bear in mind that numerous variables will guide you toward your final decision. You may decide to visit different campuses to view their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school 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 options so you can make the best choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Evanston IL.

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