How to Select a Physical Therapist College near Winnebago 61088
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Winnebago IL is a critical first step to starting a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the appropriate training and education. A PT must also become licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to research the ones you are thinking about to make certain they will provide a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is select a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be considered along with location and cost. But before we cover 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?
Physical therapists work in a variety of settings, such as Winnebago IL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Winnebago IL medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
There are three physical therapist degrees available for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the single 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 prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degree levels that are available in the Winnebago IL area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are usually made available by community colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to prep candidates to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they normally take four years to complete and commonly 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 three years to finish, making the overall investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential component along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not just for graduation but in some 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 USA. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Schools Online
While not as common as the on campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the curriculum can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Winnebago IL residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat less than similar on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
By now you probably have come to decision concerning some of your initial queries, such as the type of physical therapist degree you intend to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Winnebago IL area and across Illinois, you’ll need to explore additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Furthermore, you need to make certain that you choose the school that is best for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Ask if the programs you are considering have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously 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 enroll in an online program, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy school and program you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapy 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 can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Contact a few Winnebago IL physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your college options. 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 schools.
What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapist schools you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After 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 Winnebago IL area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or even outstanding. It also affirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the program you select furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the physical therapy schools you are interested in have partnerships with Winnebago IL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional connections in the Winnebago medical community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Winnebago IL home. Students who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern 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 program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Support Provided? Most DPT schools provide some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are considering have a financial assistance office and see what type of aid is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapy college you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Winnebago IL area, check that they are offered. 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 enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Winnebago Illinois?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Winnebago IL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Winnebago County, Illinois
Winnebago County is a county located in the U.S. state of Illinois. According to the 2010 census, it had a population of 295,266, making it the seventh most populous county in Illinois behind Cook County and its five surrounding collar counties. Its county seat is Rockford.
Winnebago County was formed on January 16, 1836 out of Jo Daviess and LaSalle counties. It was named for the Winnebago Tribe of American Indians. At the time the county was founded its inhabitants consisted almost entirely of New Englanders and New England transplants from upstate New York. These were "Yankee" settlers, meaning they were descended from the English Puritans who settled New England during the early 1600s. They made up virtually all of Winnebego County's inhabitants during the first several decades of its history. In this regard the county was similar to most of the northern portion of the state of Illinois, and almost all of the neighboring state of Wisconsin. After the conclusion of the Black Hawk War there was an additional surge of immigration from New England. As a result of this heritage the inhabitants of Winnebego County considered themselves, and functioned as, a cultural expansion of early New England culture. In the Presidential election of 1860, Abraham Lincoln won 3,985 votes in Winnebago County, whereas Steven Douglas only won 817 votes.
In recent years, average temperatures in the county seat of Rockford have ranged from a low of 11 °F (−12 °C) in January to a high of 83 °F (28 °C) in July, although a record low of −27 °F (−33 °C) was recorded in January 1982 and a record high of 112 °F (44 °C) was recorded in July 1936. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 1.34 inches (34 mm) in February to 4.80 inches (122 mm) in June.
Select the Right Physical Therapist Degree Program near Winnebago IL
Choosing the ideal physical therapist college is a necessary first decision you need to make to launch a fulfilling career in the medical profession. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you select should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. But there are other relevant questions that you should ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapy college, keep in mind that numerous factors will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You may want to go to different schools to view their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me accomplish 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 options so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Winnebago IL.
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