How to Select a Physical Therapy College near Woodridge 60517
Obtaining a physical therapy degree near Woodridge IL is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated as a result of injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the necessary training and education. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to investigate those you are looking at to ensure they will furnish a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is enroll in a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be evaluated in addition to location and cost. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in diverse settings, including Woodridge IL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a program of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to prevent 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
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Woodridge IL medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degree Options
There are three physical therapist degrees available for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief summaries of degrees that are offered in the Woodridge IL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically provided by community or junior colleges, and take about two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically part of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist training to ready candidates to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally require 4 years to finish and often include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required 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 3 years to complete, making the overall commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an essential component in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in some states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has taken the place of 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 even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Colleges Online
While not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees available, 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 requires that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online portion of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Woodridge IL residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat less than similar on campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding a few of your preliminary questions, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you intend to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Woodridge IL area and across Illinois, you’ll have to research other qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Furthermore, you want to make certain that you select the college that is right for you. That’s why we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing schools these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are considering have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As earlier 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 program, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT program’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact some Woodridge IL physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest 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 see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Woodridge IL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also confirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you enroll in furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria for Illinois or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist programs you are assessing have associations with Woodridge IL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Woodridge healthcare community and assist with job placement after licensing.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Woodridge IL residence. Those who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local 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 even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? The majority of DPT colleges provide some type of financial support to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are examining have a financial assistance department and find out 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 colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist program you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Woodridge IL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out 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 Woodridge Illinois?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Woodridge IL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Woodridge is a village in DuPage County, Illinois, with portions in Will and Cook counties, and a south-western suburb of Chicago. It uses the 630 and 331 area codes. The population was 32,971 at the 2010 census. Woodridge is the home of the Home Run Inn pizzeria chain and was the home of Pabst Brewing Company from 2006-2011.
Woodridge was incorporated on August 24, 1959, with less than 500 residents, on a wooded area of high ground overlooking the DuPage River's East Branch. Woodridge is a young community with the vast majority of its homes, businesses, and churches constructed after the 1950s. Woodridge was founded by a housing developer, Albert Kaufman, who was largely responsible for the creation of the village.
According to the 2010 census, Woodridge has a total area of 9.582 square miles (24.82 km2), of which 9.42 square miles (24.40 km2) (or 98.31%) is land and 0.162 square miles (0.42 km2) (or 1.69%) is water.
Choose the Best Physical Therapy School near Woodridge IL
Deciding on the right physical therapy program is an important first decision you must make to launch a rewarding career in the health care profession. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you pick should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are other important questions that you should ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapist program, keep in mind that numerous variables will lead you to your final decision. You might decide to visit different colleges to view their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the right selection. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Woodridge IL.
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