How to Find the Right Physical Therapist Program near Forest Park 60130
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Forest Park IL is an important first step to starting a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled due to illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the necessary education and training. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate the ones you are considering to make sure they will furnish a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is select a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be evaluated along with cost and location. But before we cover what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists practice in varying settings, such as Forest Park IL private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to address the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Forest Park IL health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy field, it is rather 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 Therapist Degrees Offered
There are three physical therapy degrees available for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degree levels that are available in the Forest Park IL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically made available by community colleges, and require 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a component of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training to prepare students to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they normally require 4 years to finish and often include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to complete, making the total commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an important element along with the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in several states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has taken the place of the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer attainable in the USA. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Schools
Although not as common as the more traditional options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Due to 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 curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Forest Park IL home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat less than comparable on campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
By now you probably have come to decision concerning several of your preliminary queries, including the type of physical therapy degree you intend to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the Forest Park IL area and across Illinois, you’ll need to research additional qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of school choices. Furthermore, you want to be sure that you pick the school that is best for you. That’s why we have collected a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Ask if the programs you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously stated, 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 program, it may also earn 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. Also, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, starting with asking for 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 also. Get in touch with several Forest Park IL physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your college selections. It may also be a good idea to contact the Illinois Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of useful statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy schools you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Forest Park IL area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even exceptional. It also confirms that the school has a wide network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you select provides both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements for Illinois or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapy schools you are reviewing have relationships with Forest Park IL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent 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 a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Forest Park medical community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Forest Park IL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to keep 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 be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Support Offered? Most DPT colleges provide some type of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance department and see what kind of help is available. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapist school you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Forest Park IL area, make sure 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 have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Forest Park Illinois?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Forest Park IL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Forest Park, Illinois
Forest Park (formerly Harlem) is a village in Cook County, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, United States. The population was 14,167 at the 2010 census. The Forest Park terminal on the CTA Blue Line is the line's western terminus, located on the Eisenhower Expressway at Des Plaines Avenue.
Forest Park is located at 41°52′23″N 87°48′40″W / 41.87306°N 87.81111°W / 41.87306; -87.81111 (41.873031, -87.811155). According to the 2010 census, Forest Park has a total area of 2.4 square miles (6.22 km2), all land. The Des Plaines River runs through Forest Park.
For much of its history, Forest Park was known as a "Village of cemeteries", with more dead "residents" than living ones; some figures estimate the ratio at 30:1, dead to alive. Forest Park cemeteries include Altenheim,Forest Home Cemetery (incorporating the German Waldheim Cemetery),Jewish Waldheim (producer Mike Todd is buried in Beth Aaron there),Woodlawn (including Showmen's Rest), and Concordia. Forest Home Cemetery is home to the famous Haymarket Martyrs' Monument.
Pick the Ideal Physical Therapy Training Program near Forest Park IL
Choosing the ideal physical therapy college is an important initial decision you have to make to begin a gratifying career in the health care field. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you decide on should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are additional critical questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist program, bear in mind that many factors will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You might decide to visit each of the schools to see their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me reach my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the best selection. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Forest Park IL.
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