Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – Auburn IL

How to Choose a Physical Therapist Degree Program near Auburn 62615

Auburn IL physical therapy school student with volunteerObtaining a physical therapist degree near Auburn IL is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally 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 necessary to evaluate the ones you are considering to make certain they will deliver a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is enroll in a school just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be evaluated along with cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.

What Does a Physical Therapist Do?

Auburn IL physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists practice in varying settings, such as Auburn IL private practices, hospitals, 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 earlier mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a course of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Head injuries.
  • Heart attacks.
  • Sports injuries.
  • Fire injuries.
  • Knee Replacement.
  • Sciatica.
  • Cerebral Palsy.

Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Auburn IL medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degree Options

Auburn IL physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are three physical therapist degree options available for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degree levels that are available in the Auburn IL area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are usually provided by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a portion of the course of study.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy education to prep candidates to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take 4 years to complete and often include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program must also 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 total commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal component along with the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not only 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 phased out and is no longer offered in the United States. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapy Online Schools

woman attending physical therapy school online in Auburn ILWhile not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Auburn IL residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat less than comparable on-campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges

By now you probably have come to decision concerning a few of your initial queries, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you intend to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the Auburn IL area and throughout Illinois, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school options. Furthermore, you need to make certain that you choose the program that is right for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are considering. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are looking at have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. 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 select an online school, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the College’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call several Auburn IL physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your school selections. It may also be prudent to check with the Illinois Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.

What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of important statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might mean that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once 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 Auburn IL area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps excellent. It also verifies that the school has a wide network of contacts to help students obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you enroll in furnishes both superior training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements for Illinois or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapist schools you are interested in have associations with Auburn IL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to receive practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Auburn health care community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.

Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Auburn IL home. Those who have decided 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 concern. Something to bear 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 may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Support Provided? Most DPT schools provide some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are considering have a financial aid office and see what kind of assistance is obtainable. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance might be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapy school you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Auburn 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 procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Auburn Illinois?

If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Auburn IL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.

Auburn, Illinois

As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 4,317 people, 1,618 households, and 1,187 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,368.0 people per square mile (527.5/km²). There were 1,753 housing units at an average density of 555.5 per square mile (214.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.36% White, 0.30% African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.28% Asian, 0.30% from other races, and 0.60% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.76% of the population.

There were 1,618 households out of which 42.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.6% were married couples living together, 13.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.6% were non-families. 22.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.09.

In the city, the population was spread out with 30.4% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 33.1% from 25 to 44, 17.5% from 45 to 64, and 11.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 88.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.4 males.

Pick the Right Physical Therapy Degree Program near Auburn IL

Selecting the ideal physical therapist school is a necessary initial decision you need to make to launch a fulfilling career in the medical field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you select should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are additional important questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist college, bear in mind that numerous variables will guide you to your final decision. You may decide to visit each of the campuses to see their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the right choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Auburn IL.

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