How to Choose a Physical Therapist School near Decatur 62521
Earning a physical therapist degree near Decatur IL is a critical first step to starting a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated due to illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the appropriate training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to evaluate those you are looking at to make certain they will deliver a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be evaluated along with location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of locations, including Decatur IL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. 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 struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Decatur IL health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also manage several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Available
There are three physical therapy degree options available for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short summaries of degrees that are available in the Decatur IL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are typically made available by community colleges, and take about two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a component of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy education to prep candidates to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take four years to finish and often include an internship program of a minimum of 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 3 years to finish, making the total commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an important element along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in some states for licensing also.
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 offered in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Colleges Online
Although not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Decatur IL home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition may be significantly less than similar on-campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
By now you probably have come to decision regarding several of your preliminary queries, including the kind of physical therapist degree you intend to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Decatur IL area and throughout Illinois, you’ll need to research other qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of school choices. Moreover, you want to be sure that you choose the school that is right for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Ask if the programs you are reviewing have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As previously stated, 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 college, 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 just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT school’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Call some Decatur IL physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your college options. It might also be prudent to contact the Illinois Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two significant statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapist colleges you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Decatur IL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps excellent. It also affirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you enroll in provides both exceptional training and a curriculum 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapy programs you are assessing have relationships with Decatur IL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Decatur healthcare community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Decatur IL home. Those who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly 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 Assistance Provided? Most DPT colleges supply some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are examining have a financial assistance office and see what kind of assistance is offered. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. Some physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapist program you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Decatur IL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Decatur Illinois?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Decatur IL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Decatur /dəˈkeɪtər/ is the largest city and the county seat of Macon County in the U.S. state of Illinois, with a population of 76,122 as of the 2010 Census. The city was founded in 1829 and is situated along the Sangamon River and Lake Decatur in Central Illinois. In 2017, the city's estimated population was 72,124.
The city is home of private Millikin University and public Richland Community College. Decatur has vast industrial and agricultural processing production, including the North American headquarters of agricultural conglomerate Archer Daniels Midland, international agribusiness Tate & Lyle's largest corn-processing plant, and the designing and manufacturing facilities for Caterpillar Inc.'s wheel-tractor scrapers, off-highway trucks, and large mining trucks.
Decatur is located at 39°51′6″N 88°56′39″W / 39.85167°N 88.94417°W / 39.85167; -88.94417 (39.851636, −88.944228). Decatur is three hours southwest of Chicago, 40 miles due east of Springfield, the state capital, and two hours northeast of St. Louis by car.
Choose the Right Physical Therapy School near Decatur IL
Choosing the ideal physical therapist program is an important initial decision you need to make to launch 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 accreditation. However there are other critical questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist college, keep in mind that numerous variables will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You might decide to go to each of the campuses to view their facilities and talk with 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 adhering to our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the best selection. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Decatur IL.
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