How to Find the Right Physical Therapist Program near Evergreen Park 60805
Getting a physical therapist degree near Evergreen Park IL is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated due to injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get 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 selecting a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate the ones you are thinking about to ensure they will provide a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is enroll in a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be considered in addition to location and cost. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of locations, such as Evergreen Park IL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Evergreen Park IL health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also manage several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapist degree options offered for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief summaries of degrees that are offered in the Evergreen Park IL area:
- Associate Degrees train 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 typically made available by community colleges, and require 2 years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally part of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training to prep students to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take 4 years to finish and usually include an internship program of at least 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). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to complete, making the total investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential element along with the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not only 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 phased out and is no longer available in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Degrees Online
While not as prevalent as the more traditional alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the course of study can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Evergreen Park IL home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat lower than similar on-campus options, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
At this point you probably have come to decision regarding some of your preliminary questions, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you want to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Evergreen Park IL area and throughout Illinois, you’ll have to research other qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Also, you need to be sure that you pick the program that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Ask if the schools you are reviewing have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously 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 college, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with ensuring 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 essential that the college and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Get in touch with some Evergreen Park IL physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your school options. It might 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 Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two significant statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapist programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Evergreen Park IL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps excellent. It also affirms that the school has a wide network of contacts to help students get internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you select furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum that supports 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) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapist schools you are evaluating have associations with Evergreen Park IL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional connections in the Evergreen Park health care community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Evergreen Park IL home. Students who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Most DPT schools offer some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid department and see what type of assistance is obtainable. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapy college you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Evergreen Park IL area, check that they are available. 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, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Evergreen Park Illinois?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Evergreen Park IL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Evergreen Park, Illinois
As early as 1828, a German farming family had settled in the area of what is now Evergreen Park. In the succeeding decades, other German immigrants arrived. Kedzie Avenue and 95th Street crisscrossed the farmland and provided access to markets.
The first railroad (now the Grand Trunk Railroad) came through the area in 1873. In 1875, the community built its first school just west of 95th and Kedzie. The school and the stores that began to cluster around this intersection defined the community's main business area. Nearby, a real-estate developer, with a vision of the Arc de Triomphe area of Paris, laid out a star-shaped park with eight streets radiating from it. The evergreen trees planted in the park inspired the village's name. The location and layout of the park was intended to be the center of town, but 95th St and Kedzie Ave. later proved a more accurate midpoint. After the death of Mayor Henry Klein shortly after the village's 75th anniversary, the park was renamed Klein Park in his honor. 
In 1888 St. Mary's Cemetery opened, and mourners traveled by train from Chicago. Restaurants and taverns were created to provide meals for cemetery visitors. Within five years, the village had become a recreation center that attracted hundreds of Chicagoans to its picnic groves, beer gardens, and dance halls. The first of the village's 13 churches was established in 1893.
Pick the Best Physical Therapy College near Evergreen Park IL
Choosing the ideal physical therapy school is a necessary first decision you have to make to launch a fulfilling career in the medical field. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you enroll in should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are other relevant questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist school, bear in mind that many factors will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You may want to visit different schools to view their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me realize 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 selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Evergreen Park IL.
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