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

How to Select a Physical Therapist School near Charleston 61920

Charleston IL physical therapy school student with volunteerReceiving a physical therapy degree near Charleston IL is an important first step to starting a rewarding career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated due to injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate those you are thinking about to make certain they will deliver a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is enroll in a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be considered besides cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.

What Do Physical Therapists Do?

Charleston IL physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists practice in a variety of settings, such as Charleston IL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers 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 experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a program of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to stop any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Head injuries.
  • Cardiac arrest.
  • Sports injuries.
  • Fire injuries.
  • Hip Replacement.
  • Sciatica.
  • Cerebral Palsy.

Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Charleston IL health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees Offered

Charleston IL physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are 3 physical therapy degree options offered for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either preparing 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 Charleston IL area:

  • Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are typically provided by junior or community colleges, and take about two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a component of the course of study.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to prep students to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they typically require four years to complete and often incorporate 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 also must 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 total commitment seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal component in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in several 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 phased out and is no longer attainable in the USA. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapist Schools Online

woman attending physical therapy school online in Charleston ILWhile not as common as the more traditional alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs available, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the program may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Charleston IL home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition might be significantly less than comparable on-campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.

Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Schools

By now you probably have come to decision regarding several of your preliminary questions, including the type of physical therapist degree you would like to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are so many PT schools within the Charleston IL area and across Illinois, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of college choices. Furthermore, you want to be sure that you choose the school that is best for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are considering. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited?  Find out if the schools you are reviewing have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you select an online school, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the Program’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT program’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Call a few Charleston IL physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your school selections. It might also be prudent to contact the Illinois Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the schools.

What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of useful statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapy schools you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Charleston IL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also affirms that the school has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment after graduation.

Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the program you select 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 every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapist colleges you are assessing have relationships with Charleston IL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Charleston medical community and help with job placement after licensing.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist 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 ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.

Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Charleston IL home. Those who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. 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 need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Most DPT schools offer some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial aid department and find out what type of help is offered. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. Some physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance may be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapy school you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Charleston IL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Charleston Illinois?

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

Charleston, Illinois

Charleston is a city in and the county seat of Coles County, Illinois, United States.[4] The population was 21,838, as of the 2010 census. The city is home to Eastern Illinois University and has close ties with its neighbor, Mattoon. Both are principal cities of the Charleston–Mattoon Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Native Americans lived in the Charleston area for thousands of years before the first European settlers arrived. With the great tallgrass prairie to the west, beech-maple forests to the east, and the Embarras River and Wabash Rivers between, the Charleston area provided semi-nomadic Indians access to a variety of resources. Indians may have deliberately set the "wildfires" which maintained the local mosaic of prairie and oak–hickory forest. Streams with names like Indian Creek and Kickapoo Creek mark the sites of former Indian settlements. One village is said to have been located south of Fox Ridge State Park near a deposit of flint.[citation needed]

The early history of settlement in the area was marked by uneasy co-existence between Indians and Americans. Some settlers lived peacefully with the natives, but conflict arose in the 1810s and 1820s: after Indians allegedly harassed surveying crews, an escalating series of poorly documented skirmishes occurred between Indians, settlers, and the Illinois Rangers. Two pitched battles (complete with cannon on one side) occurred just south of Charleston along "the hills of the Embarrass," near the entrance to Lake Charleston park. These conflicts did not slow American settlement, and Indian history in Coles County effectively ended when all natives were expelled by law from Illinois after the 1832 Black Hawk War. With the grudging exception of Indian wives, the last natives were driven out by the 1840s.[5]

Select the Right Physical Therapy Degree Program near Charleston IL

Choosing the best physical therapy college is a necessary initial decision you have to make to launch a rewarding career in the medical profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you pick should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are other important questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapist college, keep in mind that many variables will guide you toward your final decision. You may decide to go to different schools to see their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Charleston IL.

A Few More Interesting Locations in Illinois

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