How to Select a Physical Therapy School near Cortland 60112
Getting a physical therapy degree near Cortland IL is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the appropriate training and education. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate the ones you are considering to make sure they will provide a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is select a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be evaluated in addition to 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 what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists work in diverse locations, including Cortland IL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they develop a course of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Cortland IL health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are three physical therapist degrees available for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, 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 prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degrees that are available in the Cortland IL area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are typically offered by community colleges, and require two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to prep students to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically require four years to complete and usually incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated in order to become a practicing licensed 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 most cases. Clinical training is an intregal component along with the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in several states for licensing also.
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 practicing 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 implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Degrees
While not as prevalent as the more traditional options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Cortland IL residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat lower than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
By now you probably have come to decision concerning a few of your preliminary queries, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the Cortland IL area and across Illinois, you’ll have to explore other qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college options. Also, you want to make certain that you choose the program that is best for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are considering. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Find out if the programs 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 choose an online college, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be mandated 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 imperative that the school and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Get in touch with several Cortland IL physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your college 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 Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two significant statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapist programs you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students left due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Cortland IL area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also confirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you select furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria 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 vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the physical therapy programs you are assessing have partnerships with Cortland IL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Cortland medical community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are considering 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 determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Cortland IL home. Those who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Support Offered? The majority of DPT colleges provide some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are examining have a financial assistance department and see what type of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapy college you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Cortland IL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Cortland Illinois?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Cortland IL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Cortland is an incorporated town in DeKalb County, Illinois, United States. The population was 4,270 at the 2010 census, up from 2,066 in 2000. Because of its status as an incorporated town, Cortland has adopted the slogan, "The Third Largest Town in Illinois". Only the towns of Cicero and Normal are larger, in terms of population.
According to the 2010 census, Cortland has a total area of 3.638 square miles (9.42 km2), of which 3.63 square miles (9.40 km2) (or 99.78%) is land and 0.008 square miles (0.02 km2) (or 0.22%) is water. The town is located immediately east of the city of DeKalb and just south of the city of Sycamore.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,066 people, 701 households, and 553 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,176.3 people per square mile (453.2/km²). There were 723 housing units at an average density of 411.6 per square mile (158.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.11% White, 1.21% African American, 0.05% Native American, 1.26% Asian, 0.97% from other races, and 1.40% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.40% of the population.
Pick the Best Physical Therapy School near Cortland IL
Choosing the best physical therapist program is an important first decision you need to make to begin a rewarding career in the health care field. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you choose should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. But there are other important questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapy school, keep in mind that a number of variables will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You might decide to go to each of the campuses to view their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me achieve my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the right selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can achieve your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Cortland IL.
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