How to Pick a Physical Therapy Training Program near Freeport 61032
Obtaining a physical therapy degree near Freeport IL is an essential first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled as a result of injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to investigate those you are considering to make certain they will furnish a superior education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is choose a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be evaluated along with cost and location. But before we talk about 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?
Physical therapists work in a variety of locations, including Freeport IL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a program of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Freeport IL health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to bear 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 Therapist Degrees
There are 3 physical therapist degree options offered for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief descriptions of degrees that are available in the Freeport IL area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often provided by junior or community colleges, and require two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to prep students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take 4 years to finish and usually incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want to become a practicing licensed physical therapist. The degree program also must 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 complete, making the total commitment 7 years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an important element in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not just 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 United States. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Programs Online
While not as common as the on campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Freeport IL home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition may be significantly lower than similar on campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning several of your initial questions, like the type of physical therapist degree you want to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are so many PT schools within the Freeport IL area and across Illinois, you’ll need to research other qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of school choices. Also, you want to make sure that you pick the school that is ideal for you. That’s why we have collected a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are considering. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Find out if the programs you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As earlier stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you select an online college, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call a few Freeport IL physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your school selections. It might also be prudent to contact the Illinois Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two relevant statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist colleges you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might mean that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Freeport IL area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even outstanding. It also confirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students get internships or employment after graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the school you select provides both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Illinois or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are evaluating have associations with Freeport IL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Freeport healthcare community and help with job placement once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist 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 travelling distance of their Freeport IL residence. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble 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 decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT schools provide some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department and find out what kind of help is available. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapy program you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Freeport 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 need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Freeport Illinois?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Freeport IL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Freeport is the county seat and largest city of Stephenson County, Illinois. The population was 25,638 at the 2010 census, and the mayor of Freeport is Jodi Miller, elected in 2017. Freeport is known for hosting the second Lincoln-Douglas debate of 1858, and as "Pretzel City, USA", named after the heritage of its Germanic settlers in the 1850s and the Billerbeck Bakery pretzel company that started as a result of their arrival. Freeport High School's mascot is the Pretzel to honor this unique heritage.
The community was originally called Winneshiek. When it was incorporated, the new municipality took its name from the generosity of Tutty Baker, who was credited with running a "free port" on the Pecatonica River. The name "Winneshiek" was later adopted, and is preserved to this day, by the Freeport Community Theatre Group.
In 1837, Stephenson County was formed and Freeport became its seat of government in 1838. Linked by a stagecoach with Chicago, the community grew rapidly. In 1840, a frame courthouse was erected and the first school was founded. Within two years, Freeport had two newspapers and in 1853, the two were joined by a third which published in German. By then, the community had a population of 2,000.
Enroll in the Right Physical Therapist School near Freeport IL
Deciding on the right physical therapist program is an important first decision you have to make to begin a gratifying career in the healthcare profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you select should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. However there are other critical questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapist college, keep in mind that a number of variables will lead you to your final decision. You may want to go to each of the colleges to see their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me achieve 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 best choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Freeport IL.
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