How to Select a Physical Therapist College near East Peoria 61611
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near East Peoria IL is an essential first step to launching a rewarding career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to investigate the ones you are considering to ensure they will furnish a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is enroll in a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be considered in addition to location and cost. 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 Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists work in varying settings, including East Peoria IL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other East Peoria IL health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely 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 3 physical therapy degrees available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is available to practice as 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. Below are short explanations of degree levels that are offered in the East Peoria IL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are usually provided by junior or community colleges, and take about two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a component of the program.
- 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 integral preliminary step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they generally require 4 years to finish and commonly include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated in order to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program also must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to finish, making the overall investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal component in addition to the considerable 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 replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer available in the USA. 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 instituted.
Physical Therapy Schools Online
Although not as common as the more traditional alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the course of study can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s East Peoria IL home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition can be significantly lower than similar on-campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
At this point you most likely have made a decision regarding a few of your preliminary questions, like the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the East Peoria IL area and throughout Illinois, you’ll need to look into additional qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of school choices. Also, you want to be sure that you enroll in the college that is right for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing schools these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Find out if the schools you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national 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 enroll in an online college, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with several East Peoria IL physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your school options. It might also be a good idea 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 College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of useful statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the East Peoria IL area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or even outstanding. It also confirms that the program has a large network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the school you enroll in furnishes both superior training and a course of study that satisfies 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) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are assessing have partnerships with East Peoria IL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the East Peoria medical community and assist with job placement after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they select will need to be within travelling distance of their East Peoria IL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program 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 often charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? Most DPT colleges provide some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at have a financial aid office and find out what type of assistance is offered. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. A number of physical therapy 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 school you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the East Peoria IL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near East Peoria Illinois?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the East Peoria IL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
East Peoria, Illinois
East Peoria is a city in Tazewell County, Illinois, United States. The population was 23,402 at the 2010 census. East Peoria is part of the Peoria, Illinois Metropolitan Statistical Area, located across the Illinois River from downtown Peoria. It is home to many Caterpillar Inc. facilities.
The city is also the site of the home campus of Illinois Central College, a regional community college and the Par-A-Dice Hotel and Casino. The main commercial area of East Peoria is just across the river from downtown Peoria. In concert with the renovation of old Caterpillar factories, the development of the downtown Peoria Riverfront Museum and Caterpillar Visitors Center, and the renovation of Interstate 74 and of the area's bridges, East Peoria's downtown and urban area have developed as well. In 2011 and 2012, a major renovation of Washington Street and other downtown and city streets took place, and a full-service Holiday Inn Center featuring a high-level restaurant has been added. Ground was broken in June 2012 for the new Fondulac District Library, which opened in November 2013. The new East Peoria City Hall, adjacent to the library with a shared Civic Plaza, was built and dedicated in 2015.
According to the 2010 census, East Peoria has a total area of 22.147 square miles (57.36 km2), of which 19.96 square miles (51.70 km2) (or 90.13%) is land and 2.187 square miles (5.66 km2) (or 9.87%) is water.
Pick the Right Physical Therapist Degree Program near East Peoria IL
Selecting the right physical therapist program is an important initial decision you need to make to begin a gratifying career in the healthcare profession. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you select should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are additional critical questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist program, keep in mind that numerous variables will lead you toward your final decision. You might decide to go to different schools to see their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me realize 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 ideal selection. And with the proper education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in East Peoria IL.
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