How to Find the Right Physical Therapy College near Elmwood 61529
Getting a physical therapy degree near Elmwood IL is an essential first step to starting a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated due to illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the necessary training and education. A PT must also become licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research the ones you are considering to make certain they will provide a quality education and comply with 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 cheapest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be considered in addition to cost and location. But before we cover 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 is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists practice in diverse settings, such as Elmwood IL private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to address the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also strive to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Elmwood IL health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are three physical therapist degrees available for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short summaries of degrees that are offered in the Elmwood IL area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are typically made available by community colleges, and take about two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically part of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist training 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 important first step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they typically require 4 years to complete and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated in order to become a practicing licensed 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 3 years to finish, making the overall commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal component in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in some states for licensing as well.
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 holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Degrees
Although not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy programs available, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Elmwood IL residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition can be significantly less than similar on-campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the best 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 regarding some of your preliminary questions, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Elmwood IL area and throughout Illinois, you’ll have to explore other qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of school choices. Also, you need to make certain that you pick the school that is best for you. That’s why we have collected a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist programs you are considering. Ask all of the competing schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Find out if the programs you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. 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 important that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are a number of ways you can research a PT program’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 as well. Contact a few Elmwood IL physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your program options. It might also be prudent to contact the Illinois Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two significant statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapy colleges you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Elmwood IL area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even exceptional. It also verifies that the school has a wide network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative 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 needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the physical therapy programs you are reviewing have partnerships with Elmwood 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 also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Elmwood healthcare community and assist with job placement once licensed.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. 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 several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they select will need to be within driving distance of their Elmwood IL residence. Those who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often 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 Assistance Provided? Most DPT schools provide some type of financial aid to their potential students. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial assistance department and find out what kind of aid is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapist school you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Elmwood 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 courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Elmwood Illinois?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Elmwood IL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Elmwood Park, Illinois
Elmwood Park is a village in Cook County, Illinois, United States. The population was 24,883 at the 2010 census. The community has long maintained a large Italian-American population, with a more recent influx of Polish-American and Hispanic residents.
Elmwood Park was incorporated as a village in early April 1914 in order to prevent annexation by the greater city of Chicago. Today one can still see evidence of a minority of landowners, or share farmers who voted for annexation to the city by the odd chunk taken out of Elmwood Park's northeast corner which kept the community from achieving a full square rectangular border.
At the turn of the Century urban dwellers would take the train westward out of the harsh concrete city for family picnics at the "Elm-Wood-Park", which was an ancient "Grove of majestic 180 year old Elms" found near 72nd Ave/Harlem and Irving Park road. Taking advantage of the park's provenance, a new cemetery was named Elmwood, while the closest train stop to both cemetery and park in unincorporated Marwood/Ellsworth became identified with the official name of "Elmwood Park". During the pressure era of incorporation a decade later, the village's founding representatives thought it most ideal to legally title the community after the stop, and after the namesake elm which is a native, locally evolved, riparian prairie "bottomland" tree species.
Select the Right Physical Therapist Degree Program near Elmwood IL
Choosing the right physical therapy school is an important first decision you must make to launch a gratifying career in the health care field. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you select should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are additional important questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapy program, keep in mind that numerous variables will lead you to your final decision. You may decide to visit different schools to view their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school 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 options so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Elmwood IL.
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