How to Select a Physical Therapist Degree Program near Fairview Heights 62208
Earning a physical therapy degree near Fairview Heights IL is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled as a result of illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the appropriate training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research the ones you are looking at to ensure they will deliver a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be considered along with location and cost. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in a variety of locations, including Fairview Heights 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 diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they create a program of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Fairview Heights IL health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are 3 physical therapy degree options available for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the one degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief descriptions of degree levels that are offered in the Fairview Heights 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 a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are typically offered by community colleges, and require 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally part of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to ready candidates to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they typically require four years to finish and usually include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement if you want to become a licensed practicing 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 3 years to finish, making the overall commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal component along with the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not just 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 phased out and is no longer attainable in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Online Programs
Although not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapy degrees available, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Fairview Heights IL home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition may be significantly less than comparable on campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
By now you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning some of your initial queries, including the type of physical therapy degree you would like to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Fairview Heights IL area and across Illinois, you’ll have to research additional qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of college options. Moreover, you want to be sure that you choose the college that is right for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are considering. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Ask if the programs you are reviewing have received 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 choose an online college, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can research a PT college’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact some Fairview Heights IL physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your program options. It may also be prudent to contact the Illinois Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two relevant statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapy schools you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might mean that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Fairview Heights IL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also verifies that the college has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the program you enroll in furnishes 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 needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with 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 amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapy programs you are reviewing have partnerships with Fairview Heights IL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to receive 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 assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Fairview Heights medical community and help with job placement after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are researching 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 final determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Fairview Heights IL residence. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern 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 decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally 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 provide some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have a financial aid office and find out what kind of aid is offered. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist program you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Fairview Heights IL area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Fairview Heights Illinois?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Fairview Heights IL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Fairview Heights, Illinois
Fairview Heights is a city in St. Clair County, Illinois, United States. The population was 17,078 at the 2010 census. Fairview Heights is a dominant shopping center for Southwestern Illinois and includes numerous shopping plazas and the St. Clair Square mall.
According to the 2010 census, Fairview Heights has a total area of 11.497 square miles (29.78 km2), of which 11.42 square miles (29.58 km2) (or 99.33%) is land and 0.077 square miles (0.20 km2) (or 0.67%) is water.
French Village, Illinois is an unincorporated community (Class Code U4) located immediately west of Fairview Heights at 38°36′01″N 90°03′00″W / 38.600300°N 90.050100°W / 38.600300; -90.050100 (French Village, Illinois).
Select the Right Physical Therapist School near Fairview Heights IL
Picking the best physical therapist school is a necessary first decision you must make to begin a fulfilling career in the healthcare profession. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you select should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are other relevant 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 many factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You may want to visit different colleges to see their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the ideal choice. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Fairview Heights IL.
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