Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – Downers Grove IL

How to Select a Physical Therapist School near Downers Grove 60515

Downers Grove IL physical therapy school student with volunteerEarning a physical therapist degree near Downers Grove IL is an important first step to launching a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the appropriate training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to investigate the ones you are thinking about to make sure they will furnish a superior education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is choose a school just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated in addition to 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 is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?

Downers Grove IL physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists practice in varying settings, including Downers Grove IL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment 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 in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, 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. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:

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

Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Downers Grove IL health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees

Downers Grove IL physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are three physical therapy degree options offered for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is available 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 progress to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degrees that are available in the Downers Grove IL area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically offered by community or junior colleges, and require 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a portion of the course of study.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to prep candidates to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally require 4 years to complete and commonly include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are required 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 the majority of cases. Clinical training is an essential element along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely 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 USA. A number of practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapist Programs Online

woman attending physical therapy school online in Downers Grove ILWhile not as prevalent as the more traditional alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online portion of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Downers Grove IL home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition might be significantly less than comparable on-campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.

Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Programs

By now you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding some of your initial questions, like the kind of physical therapist degree you intend to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the Downers Grove IL area and across Illinois, you’ll need to research other qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of school choices. Moreover, you need to make certain that you pick the program that is right for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist programs you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited?  Ask if the colleges you are looking at have received 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 essential that both the physical therapy school and program you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the College’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call a few Downers Grove IL physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your college options. It may also be prudent to contact the Illinois Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.

What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist programs you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students left due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Downers Grove IL area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or even exceptional. It also verifies that the college has a broad network of contacts to assist students get 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 practicing. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapy programs you are assessing have partnerships with Downers Grove IL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional connections in the Downers Grove healthcare community and help with job placement once licensed.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for 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 classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.

Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Downers Grove IL home. Those who have chosen 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 consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

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

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapy school you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Downers Grove IL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Downers Grove Illinois?

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

Downers Grove, Illinois

Downers Grove was founded in 1832 by Pierce Downer,[6] a farmer who traveled to Illinois from Rutland, New York, but was originally from Vermont.[7] Its other early settlers included the Blodgett, Curtiss, Blanchard, Stanley, Lyman, and Carpenter families. The original settlers were mostly migrants from the Northeastern United States and Northern Europe. The first schoolhouse was built in 1844.

The Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad was extended from Aurora to Chicago through Downers Grove in 1864, boosting its population. The town was incorporated in March 1873. Its somewhat unusual spelling ("Apostrophe-free since 1873") remains a minor historical mystery.

In April 1947 the wreck of a Burlington Railroad Twin Cities Zephyr passenger train killed three people, including the engineer. The streamliner struck a large tractor which had fallen from a freight train and two passenger cars crashed through a wall of the Main Street Station.

Pick the Right Physical Therapy College near Downers Grove IL

Selecting the best physical therapist program is a necessary first decision you need to make to begin a rewarding career in the health care profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you pick should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are other important questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapist college, keep in mind that many variables will guide you to your ultimate decision. You might decide to go to different colleges to see their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me realize 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 options so you can make the best selection. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Downers Grove IL.

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