How to Find the Right Physical Therapist Degree Program near Fairfield 62837
Getting a physical therapist degree near Fairfield IL is a critical first step to launching a fulfilling career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated as a result of illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the appropriate training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research those you are thinking about to make certain they will deliver a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is choose a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated besides cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of locations, including Fairfield IL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to stop any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Fairfield IL health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapy degree options available for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief explanations of degree levels that are available in the Fairfield IL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically provided by community colleges, and require two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally part of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to prep students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally require four years to complete 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). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to finish, making the overall commitment seven years in most cases. Clinical training is an important component along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in a number of states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has taken the place of the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer available 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 current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Programs
While not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online part of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Fairfield IL residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition may be significantly lower than comparable on campus options, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
At this point you probably have come to decision regarding some of your initial questions, including the type of physical therapist degree you intend to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the Fairfield IL area and across Illinois, you’ll need to look into other qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Furthermore, you want to make certain that you pick the program that is best for you. That’s why we have put together a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. 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 considering have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. 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 program, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapist school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can research a PT college’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact some Fairfield IL physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your school selections. 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 School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two relevant statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Fairfield IL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also confirms that the school has a large network of contacts to help students get internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you enroll in furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the physical therapist schools you are interested in have associations with Fairfield IL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to receive practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Fairfield medical community and assist with job placement once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Fairfield IL home. Students who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? Most DPT schools supply some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are considering have a financial aid office and find out what type of help is obtainable. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapist school you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fairfield IL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Fairfield Illinois?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Fairfield IL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Fairfield is most famous for being the hometown of the "friendly" people, and the Shelton Brothers Gang; notorious bootleggers who fought it out with the Harrisburg, Illinois based Birger Gang to control criminal activities in Southern Illinois. During the first half of the 20th century gang leaders Carl, Earl and Bernie Shelton made Fairfield a household name. Based on testimony of Charlie Birger himself, the Shelton Brothers were convicted for a 1925 unsolved mail carrier robbery of $15,000 and were sentenced to 25 years. They were released a few years later. Birger dominated bootlegging in Southern Illinois until he himself was hanged in Benton for the murder of West City Mayor Joe Adams in 1928. After serving their time, the Shelton brothers built a new criminal empire. Based out of East St Louis, one of the most prosperous cities of its day, they controlled all vice from Peoria and southward.
They met their demise at the hands of the Chicago mob and an insider Charles "Blackie" Harris. A land dispute led to Blackie joining forces with the Mob to kill off members of the Shelton gang. His most notable victim was Carl Shelton, the leader. He was ambushed several miles southeast of Fairfield, shot from his Jeep. Bernie was killed at his Peoria roadhouse. Earl moved to Jacksonville, Florida and became a successful land speculator.
Senator William Borah, the "Lion of Idaho," was born in Fairfield. Fairfield was the hometown of Kenneth Michael Kays, recipient of the Medal of Honor for heroism during the Vietnam War, and Country music singer-songwriter Lance Miller. Carroll C. Boggs, Illinois Supreme Court justice was born in Fairfield. Drue Pearce, Alaska state legislator, was born in Fairfield.
Pick the Best Physical Therapy School near Fairfield IL
Choosing the right physical therapy school is an important first decision you must make to launch a fulfilling career in the health care profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you choose should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are other relevant questions that you should ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapist school, keep in mind that many variables will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You may decide to go to each of the schools to view their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me accomplish 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 right selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Fairfield IL.
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