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

How to Find the Right Physical Therapy Degree Program near Centralia 62801

Centralia IL physical therapy school student with volunteerEarning a physical therapist degree near Centralia IL is a critical first step to launching a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated 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 get the appropriate education and training. A PT must also become licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate the ones you are considering to make sure they will furnish a superior education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is enroll in a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be evaluated besides location and cost. But before we discuss 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?

Centralia IL physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists work in varying locations, including Centralia IL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Strokes.
  • Cardiac arrest.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
  • Burn injuries.
  • Knee Replacement.
  • Sciatica.
  • Multiple Sclerosis.

Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Centralia IL medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating 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 heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degree Options

Centralia IL physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are three physical therapy degree options offered for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief summaries of degree levels that are offered in the Centralia 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. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are most often provided by community colleges, and require two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually part of the program.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist training to prepare candidates to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they generally take four years to complete and usually include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are mandated in order 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 total commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an essential element in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in some 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 available in the United States. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapist Colleges Online

woman attending physical therapy school online in Centralia ILWhile not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapist programs available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online part of the program may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Centralia IL home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition can be somewhat less than comparable on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.

Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Schools

By now you most likely have come to decision regarding several of your preliminary questions, including the kind of physical therapy degree you intend to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Centralia IL area and across Illinois, you’ll need to look into other qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of school options. Also, you want to be sure that you choose the program that is right for you. That’s why we have put together a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited?  Ask if the colleges 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 choose an online program, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the College’s Standing? 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, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with some Centralia IL physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you might be interested 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 College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two relevant statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Centralia IL area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also confirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you enroll in furnishes both exceptional training and a course of study that supports 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing have partnerships with Centralia IL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help students and graduates form professional relationships in the Centralia medical community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.

Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy school they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Centralia IL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online naturally 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 consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Most DPT colleges supply some form of financial aid to their potential students. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial aid department and find out what type of aid is available. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid might be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapist college you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Centralia IL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure 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 Centralia Illinois?

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

Centralia, Illinois

Centralia is a city in Clinton, Jefferson, Marion, and Washington counties in the U.S. state of Illinois. The population was 13,032 as of the 2010 census,[4] down from 14,136 in 2000. The current mayor is Tom Ashby.

Centralia is named for the Illinois Central Railroad, built in 1853. The city was founded at the location where the two original branches of the railroad converged. Centralia was first chartered as a city in 1859.[1]

In the southern city limits is the intersection of the Third Principal Meridian and its baseline. This initial point was established in 1815, and it governs land surveys for about 60% of the state of Illinois, including Chicago.[5] The original monument is at the junction of Highway 51 and the Marion-Jefferson County Line Road; today there is a small easement situated in the northeast corner of this intersection, which contains a monument and historic marker.

Enroll in the Right Physical Therapy School near Centralia IL

Selecting the ideal physical therapist program is a necessary initial decision you need to make to launch a gratifying career in the medical profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you select should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are other relevant questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapy college, keep in mind that a number of factors will lead you to your final decision. You may want to visit each of the campuses 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 adhering to our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the right selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Centralia IL.

A Few More Interesting Locations in Illinois

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