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

How to Find the Right Physical Therapist Training Program near Dolton 60419

Dolton IL physical therapy school student with volunteerReceiving a physical therapist degree near Dolton IL is an essential first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated as a result of injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the appropriate education and training. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate the ones you are looking at to ensure they will supply a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is enroll in a school just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be considered besides cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.

What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?

Dolton IL physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists work in diverse settings, such as Dolton IL private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have 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 frequently pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also strive to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Strokes.
  • Cardiac arrest.
  • Sports injuries.
  • Fire injuries.
  • Hip Replacement.
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Cerebral Palsy.

Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Dolton IL medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy profession, 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 Offered

Dolton IL physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are three physical therapist degrees offered for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is attainable to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short summaries of degrees that are available in the Dolton IL area:

  • Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning 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 or junior colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a portion of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training to prep students to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they normally require four years to finish and often incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are a requirement if you want 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 three years to complete, making the total commitment seven years in most cases. Clinical training is an essential element along with the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in a number of states for licensing as well.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer available in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapy Programs Online

woman attending physical therapy school online in Dolton ILWhile not as common as the more traditional alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online part of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Dolton IL residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat lower than similar on-campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.

Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Programs

By now you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding some of your initial questions, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you intend to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the Dolton IL area and across Illinois, you’ll need to look into additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school options. Also, you need to make certain that you choose the school that is ideal for you. That’s why we have put together a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential schools these questions before making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited?  Find out if the schools you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. 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 choose an online college, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the School’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with some Dolton IL physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your program options. It might 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 colleges.

What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of important statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapy programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students left due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Dolton IL area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even excellent. It also confirms that the college has a large network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the program you enroll in provides both exceptional training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements for Illinois or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internships Offered? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are reviewing have associations with Dolton IL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional connections in the Dolton health care community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost 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 average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.

Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Dolton IL residence. Individuals who have chosen 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 keep 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 need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.

Is Financial Help Provided? Most DPT colleges supply some form of financial aid to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid office and find out what kind of help is available. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial aid may be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapy school you finally choose 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 Dolton IL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check 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 due to work, illness or family emergencies.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Dolton Illinois?

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

Dolton, Illinois

Dolton (pronounced "DAWL-ton") is a village in Cook County, Illinois, United States. The population was 23,153 at the 2010 census.[3] Dolton is located just west of the expressway Interstate 94 and immediately south of the city limits of Chicago. Its most common ZIP code is 60419.

According to the 2010 census, Dolton has a total area of 4.68 square miles (12.12 km2), of which 4.56 square miles (11.81 km2) (or 97.44%) is land and 0.12 square miles (0.31 km2) (or 2.56%) is water.[7]

As of the census[9] of 2000, there were 25,614 people, 8,512 households, and 6,494 families residing in the village. The population density was 5,627.6 people per square mile (2,173.5/km²). There were 8,944 housing units at an average density of 1,965.1 per square mile (759.0/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 82.4% African American, 14.3% White, 0.6% Asian, 0.2% Native American, 1.4% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.1% of the population.

Select the Right Physical Therapy College near Dolton IL

Choosing the best physical therapist school is a necessary first decision you need to make to begin a rewarding career in the medical field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you choose should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. But there are additional important questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapy college, keep in mind that many factors will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You might decide to visit different schools to view their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the ideal selection. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Dolton IL.

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