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

How to Select a Physical Therapy College near Chatham 62629

Chatham IL physical therapy school student with volunteerEarning a physical therapy degree near Chatham IL is a critical first step to beginning a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the necessary training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate those you are considering to make certain they will deliver a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is select a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be considered along with location and cost. But before we discuss 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?

Chatham IL physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists practice in a variety of locations, such as Chatham IL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Strokes.
  • Heart attacks.
  • Sports injuries.
  • Fire injuries.
  • Knee Replacement.
  • Sciatica.
  • Cerebral Palsy.

Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Chatham IL medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also manage several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to take note of for anyone considering entering the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees Available

Chatham IL physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are three physical therapist degrees offered for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degrees that are offered in the Chatham 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 earned a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically made available by junior or community colleges, and take about two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a component of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to prepare candidates to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they generally take four years to complete and often incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are required 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 complete, making the overall investment of time 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an intregal component in addition to the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in a number of 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 attainable in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists holding 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 Online Colleges

woman attending physical therapy school online in Chatham ILWhile not as common as the on-campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online part of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Chatham IL home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition might be somewhat less than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Schools

At this point you most likely have come to decision regarding a few of your preliminary questions, like the kind of physical therapist degree you want to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Chatham IL area and across Illinois, you’ll have to research other qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school choices. Moreover, you want to make sure that you select the program that is right for you. That’s why we have collected a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing schools these questions prior to making a final decision.

Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited?  Find out if the colleges you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online school, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapist school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can research a PT school’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call a few Chatham IL physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your program selections. It might also be a good idea to contact the Illinois Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.

What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy schools you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, 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 Chatham IL area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps excellent. It also verifies that the college has a large network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you select provides both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements for Illinois or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. Although licensing requirements fluctuate 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 supplemental exams.

Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapist schools you are interested in have relationships with Chatham IL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional connections in the Chatham healthcare community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.

Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Chatham IL residence. Students who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT colleges offer some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Ask if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid department and find out what kind of aid is obtainable. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. Some physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid may be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapist program you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Chatham IL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify 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 might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Chatham Illinois?

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

Chatham, Illinois

Chatham is a village in Sangamon County, Illinois, United States. It is located 2.8 miles south of Springfield and has a retail trade area that extends into four other municipalities, including Springfield. The population was 11,500 as of the 2010 census and estimated to be 11,946 as of 2012. The village lies along the original alignment of historic U.S. Route 66 (Illinois Route 4).

Chatham is located at 39°40′22″N 89°41′54″W / 39.67278°N 89.69833°W / 39.67278; -89.69833 (39.672899, -89.698385).[3] According to the 2010 census, Chatham has a total area of 5.722 square miles (14.82 km2), of which 5.72 square miles (14.81 km2) (or 99.97%) is land and 0.002 square miles (0.01 km2) (or 0.03%) is water.[4]

As of the census[6] of 2010, the racial makeup of the village was 93.57% White, 2.47% African American, 0.09% Native American, 1.85% Asian, 0.46% from other races, and 1.57% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.97% of the population.

Enroll in the Right Physical Therapy College near Chatham IL

Deciding on the best physical therapy school is an important first decision you have to make to start a rewarding career in the medical profession. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you choose should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are additional important questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapist school, bear in mind that numerous variables will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You might decide to go to each of the campuses to see their facilities and talk 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 supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the ideal choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Chatham IL.

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