How to Enroll In a Physical Therapy School near West Chicago 60185
Earning a physical therapist degree near West Chicago IL is an important first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the appropriate training and education. A PT must also become licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to investigate those you are considering to make sure they will provide a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is select a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be evaluated along with cost and location. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in varying locations, such as West Chicago IL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they develop a course of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other West Chicago IL health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy field, it is rather 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 three physical therapy degree options available for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short summaries of degrees that are available in the West Chicago IL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually made available by community colleges, and require 2 years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically a component of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to prepare candidates to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally require four years to complete and often include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want to become a practicing licensed physical therapist. The degree program must also 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 finish, making the overall investment of time 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an important element in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in several states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer attainable in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Degrees Online
Although not as prevalent as the more traditional options, there are some accredited online physical therapy programs available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s West Chicago IL residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition can be significantly less than comparable on-campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
By now you most likely have made a decision concerning some of your initial queries, like the kind of physical therapy degree you want to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the West Chicago IL area and throughout Illinois, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of college options. Moreover, you need to be sure that you select the college that is right for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are considering. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Ask if the programs you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously mentioned, 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 receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT school’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call some West Chicago IL physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your college 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 colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two useful statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the West Chicago IL area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even outstanding. It also confirms that the program has a large network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the college you enroll in provides both superior training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria for Illinois or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the physical therapy schools you are interested in have relationships with West Chicago IL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional relationships in the West Chicago health care community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their West Chicago IL home. Those who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Support Offered? Most DPT schools offer some form of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have a financial aid office and see what kind of aid is offered. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapy college you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the West Chicago IL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, 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 may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near West Chicago Illinois?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the West Chicago IL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
West Chicago, Illinois
West Chicago is a city in DuPage County, Illinois, United States. The population was 27,086 at the 2010 census. It was formerly named Junction and later Turner, after its founder, John B. Turner, president of the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad (G&CU) in 1855. The city was initially established around the first junction of railroad lines in Illinois, and today is still served by the Union Pacific West Metra service via West Chicago station.
According to the 2010 census, West Chicago has a total area of 15.141 square miles (39.22 km2), of which 14.8 square miles (38.33 km2) (or 97.75%) is land and 0.341 square miles (0.88 km2) (or 2.25%) is water.
Erastus Gary, of Pomfret, Connecticut homesteaded 760 acres (310 ha) on the banks of the DuPage River, just south of West Chicago's present day city limits in the 1830s. His son became "Judge" Elbert Henry Gary, the first CEO of America's first billion-dollar corporation, U.S. Steel, and for whom Gary, Indiana, is named. Gary also helped bring brothers Jesse and Warren Wheaton, founders of nearby Wheaton, Illinois, the DuPage County seat, from Connecticut to the Midwest. A pioneer cemetery on the old Gary Homestead, where a sawmill had been built by the Garys, just north of Gary's Mill Road, and north of its terminus at Illinois Route 59, was built over with apartment buildings in the 1960s.
Choose the Right Physical Therapist School near West Chicago IL
Picking the right physical therapist college is a necessary initial decision you have to make to begin a rewarding career in the health care field. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you decide on should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. However there are additional critical questions that you need to ask pertaining to your school of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapist school, bear in mind that numerous variables will lead you to your ultimate decision. You may decide to visit each of the colleges to view their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following 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 accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in West Chicago IL.
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