How to Choose a Physical Therapist Degree Program near Dixon 61021
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Dixon IL is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled as a result of injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the proper training and education. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to investigate the ones you are thinking about to make sure they will supply a quality education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. 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 cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be considered besides cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in diverse locations, including Dixon IL private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Dixon IL health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Offered
There are three physical therapist degree options available for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short descriptions of degree levels that are offered in the Dixon IL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are typically provided by community colleges, and take about two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a portion of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to ready students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally require 4 years to finish and often include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program must also 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 seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential component in addition to the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in a number of states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer attainable in the USA. A number of practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Programs Online
Although not as prevalent as the more traditional alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy programs available, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Dixon IL residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition may be significantly lower than comparable on-campus options, and costs for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
By now you probably have come to decision concerning a few of your preliminary questions, including the kind of physical therapy degree you want to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Dixon IL area and throughout Illinois, you’ll need to look into other qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of college options. Furthermore, you need to make certain that you pick the college that is best for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. 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 school, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact a few Dixon IL physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your college selections. It may also be prudent to check with 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 couple of significant statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapy colleges you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Dixon IL area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also verifies that the college has a wide network of contacts to help students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the program you enroll in provides both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements for Illinois or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the physical therapy colleges you are interested in have partnerships with Dixon IL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Dixon health care community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type 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. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy 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 final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Dixon IL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? The majority of DPT schools offer some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are examining have a financial assistance office and find out what type of help is obtainable. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. Some physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial aid may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapy program you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Dixon IL area, confirm 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, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Dixon Illinois?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Dixon IL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Dixon is a city and the county seat of Lee County, Illinois, United States. The population was 15,733 as of the 2010 census, down from 15,941 in 2000. The city is named after founder John Dixon, who operated a rope ferry service across Rock River, which runs through the city. The Illinois General Assembly designated Dixon as "Petunia Capital of Illinois" in 1999 and "The Catfish Capital of Illinois" in 2009.
Dixon is the boyhood home of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan. The city is also the site of the Lincoln Monument State Memorial, marking the spot where Abraham Lincoln joined the Illinois militia at Fort Dixon in 1832 during the Black Hawk War. The memorial is located on the west side of Dixon's main north-south street, Galena Avenue, (U.S. Highway 52, also Illinois Route 26), north of the Rock River.
Around 1828, Joseph Ogee, a man of mixed French and Native American descent, established a ferry and a cabin along the banks of the Rock River. In 1829, an employee of Ogee was named postmaster at the newly constructed post office. John Dixon, the eponymous founder, bought Ogee's Ferry in the spring of 1830. Dixon brought his family to his new establishment on April 11 of that year. Shortly after, the name of the post office was changed to Dixon's Ferry.
Select the Best Physical Therapist Degree Program near Dixon IL
Choosing the best physical therapist program is an important first decision you have to make to begin a fulfilling career in the health care field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you choose should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are additional important questions that you should ask regarding your college of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapist program, keep in mind that numerous factors will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You may want to visit different colleges to view their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the right choice. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Dixon IL.
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