How to Pick a Physical Therapy Degree Program near Belvidere 61008
Earning a physical therapist degree near Belvidere IL is an essential first step to starting a rewarding career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated due to illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the appropriate training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research those you are thinking about to ensure they will deliver a quality education and meet your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is enroll in a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to 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 Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists work in diverse locations, including Belvidere IL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also strive to stop any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Belvidere IL medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep 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 prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Offered
There are 3 physical therapist degree options offered for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is attainable to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief summaries of degree levels that are offered in the Belvidere IL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually made available by community or junior colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a component of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy education to prep candidates to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally require 4 years to complete and commonly include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required in order to become a practicing licensed 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 the majority of cases. Clinical training is an intregal component in addition to the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not just for graduation but in some 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 offered in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Degrees Online
While not as prevalent as the on-campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the program may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Belvidere IL residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition may be significantly lower than similar on-campus options, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
By now you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding some of your preliminary queries, like the type of physical therapist degree you would like to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Belvidere IL area and across Illinois, you’ll have to research other qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Furthermore, you need to make sure that you select the program that is ideal for you. That’s why we have collected a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Ask if the schools you are reviewing 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 select an online college, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact several Belvidere IL physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you 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 useful statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapy colleges you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Belvidere IL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or even outstanding. It also affirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the program you choose furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria 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) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapist programs you are assessing have associations with Belvidere IL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to get hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional connections in the Belvidere medical community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student 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 a chance to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Belvidere IL home. Those who have chosen 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. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Most DPT schools supply some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are considering have a financial aid department and see what type of assistance is offered. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapist program you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Belvidere IL area, make sure that they are available. 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 have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Belvidere Illinois?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Belvidere IL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Belvidere /ˈbɛlvɪdɪər/ is a city in Boone County, Illinois, United States. The population was 25,585 as of the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Boone County. Belvidere is part of the Rockford, Illinois Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Belvidere is located at 42°15′17″N 88°50′39″W / 42.25472°N 88.84417°W / 42.25472; -88.84417 (42.254758, -88.844093), and sits at an altitude that is approximately 800 feet (240 m) above sea level. Located in north central Illinois, Belvidere is approximately 75 miles (121 km) northwest of the downtown of Chicago, and approximately 12 miles (19 km) east of Rockford. Belvidere is divided by the Kishwaukee River.
According to the 2010 census, Belvidere has a total area of 12.312 square miles (31.89 km2), of which 12.08 square miles (31.29 km2) (or 98.12%) is land and 0.232 square miles (0.60 km2) (or 1.88%) is water. Belvidere is located in north central Illinois and is 75 miles from downtown Chicago on Routes 20, 76 and the Northern Illinois Toll road, with the Kishwaukee River dividing the town. Belvidere is an industrial community surrounded by prosperous farms. It is the County Seat with an estimated 2006 county population of over 52,000. The altitude is 800 feet above sea level, average temperatures are: 73 degrees F in the summer; 24 degrees F in the winter, and the average rainfall is 33.3 inches, and the average annual snowfall is 35.3 inches. 
Pick the Ideal Physical Therapist Training Program near Belvidere IL
Selecting the best physical therapist program is a necessary first decision you must make to begin a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you choose should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are other important questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapy college, bear in mind that a number of variables will lead you to your ultimate decision. You may want to go to different colleges to view their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me achieve 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 options so you can make the ideal selection. And with the proper training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Belvidere IL.
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