Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – Fulton IL

How to Enroll In a Physical Therapist Degree Program near Fulton 61252

Fulton IL physical therapy school student with volunteerObtaining a physical therapy degree near Fulton IL is a critical first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the appropriate training and education. A PT must additionally 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 sure they will provide a superior education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is choose a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be evaluated along with location and cost. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.

What Does a Physical Therapist Do?

Fulton IL physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists practice in varying locations, such as Fulton IL hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Head injuries.
  • Heart attacks.
  • Sports injuries.
  • Burn injuries.
  • Knee Replacement.
  • Sciatica.
  • Cerebral Palsy.

Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Fulton IL health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also supervise several 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 getting into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees Available

Fulton IL physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are three physical therapist degree options offered for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief summaries of degree levels that are offered in the Fulton IL area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may 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 programs are most often made available by community or junior colleges, and require 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically a component of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist education to prep candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take four years to finish and commonly incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are mandated in order 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 total commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential element in addition to the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in several 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 available in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapy Online Schools

woman attending physical therapy school online in Fulton ILWhile not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapy programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online part of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Fulton IL residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat lower than comparable on-campus options, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges

At this point you probably have come to decision concerning several of your initial queries, like the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Fulton IL area and across Illinois, you’ll need to look into other qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Furthermore, you need to make sure that you select the program that is best for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are thinking about. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited?  Find out if the colleges you are looking at 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 enroll in an online school, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy school and program you select are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the Program’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can research a PT school’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact a few Fulton IL physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your program options. It might also be prudent to check with the Illinois Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of important statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapist colleges 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, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Fulton IL area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even exceptional. It also affirms that the school has a wide network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the program you select furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria 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 therapist college. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist colleges you are interested in have associations with Fulton IL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional connections in the Fulton healthcare community and assist with job placement once licensed.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing what the average 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 decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.

Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapist school they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Fulton IL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Support Offered? The majority of DPT schools provide some type of financial aid to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance department and see what kind of help is available. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance might be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapy school you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Fulton IL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Fulton Illinois?

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

Fulton, Illinois

Fulton is located at 41°52′1″N 90°9′32″W / 41.86694°N 90.15889°W / 41.86694; -90.15889 (41.866873, -90.158834),[5] on the east bank of the Mississippi River near Lock and Dam #13. The most northeastly portion of the county is in the Driftless Area of Illinois, where the Apple River meets the Upper Mississippi River.

According to the 2010 census, Fulton has a total area of 2.334 square miles (6.05 km2), of which 2.27 square miles (5.88 km2) (or 97.26%) is land and 0.064 square miles (0.17 km2) (or 2.74%) is water.[6]

Fulton is a city most known for its pride in its Dutch heritage. This is shown through the addition of a traditional Dutch windmill, De Immigrant, located near the city's dike, which borders the Mississippi. Other local attractions include: the Martin House Museum, Heritage Canyon, the Dutch Days festival held annually on the first weekend of May, and of course its great view of the river.

Select the Right Physical Therapist Degree Program near Fulton IL

Choosing the right physical therapy college is an important first decision you must make to begin a rewarding career in the medical field. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you enroll in should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are other important questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapist program, bear in mind that a number of factors will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You may want to go to each of the campuses to see their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the right selection. And with the proper education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Fulton IL.

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