Where in Illinois Can I Find Schools Offering Physical Therapy Degrees?

Learn about schools in Illinois that offer physical therapy programs. Find out about admission and program information, and degrees available to make an informed decision about your education. Schools offering Physical Therapy degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

In the state of Illinois, you can find physical therapy programs at all degree levels. Find out more about a 2-year associate's program, a 4-year bachelor's program, and two doctoral programs that take about 3 years to complete.

What You Need to Know

Earn a physical therapy degree from a public or private college or university in Illinois. All of these programs require internships. You can earn an associate's degree through an accredited physical therapy assistant program in just over two years, which can prepare you for the required licensing exam for physical therapy assistants. You can also enroll in a 4-year bachelor's degree program in pre-physical therapy. You'll need to sit for placement tests to be admitted, and the curriculum may prepare you for a professional physical therapy degree program at the graduate level.

The two area doctoral degree programs in physical therapy are open to bachelor's degree holders. You must also submit GRE scores. You may be required to have sufficient relevant coursework and CPR certification, too. These programs take three years of full-time study to complete; you may also be able to enroll part-time. The doctoral programs prepare graduates for the national exam for physical therapists.

Associate's Degree Programs in Physical Therapy in Illinois

Black Hawk College

As of 2012, Black Hawk College was listed by the APTA as one of 12 public or private not-for-profit postsecondary schools in Illinois offering an accredited associate's degree program for PTAs. Consisting of 72 credit hours, the program contains a minimal number of general education courses. Physical therapy-related courses include anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, kinesiology, rehabilitation techniques, therapeutic exercise, physical therapy science and massage.

Throughout the first four semesters, you'll participate in a number of seminars and practical clinical sessions. Your entire fifth semester is taken up by your participation in two consecutive internships. Upon graduation, you'll be eligible to sit for the National Physical Therapy Examination to become a licensed PTA.

  • Program Name: Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant
  • Program Length: Five semesters, full-time
  • Tuition and Fees (2015-2016): $4,050 for in-district students; $ 7,500 for in-state students; $7,650 for out-of-state students
  • Prerequisites: 'C' average in all previous college courses
  • Admission Requirements: Interview; physical exam
  • School Type: 2-year, public; about 6,300 students (all undergraduate)

Bachelor's Degree Programs in Physical Therapy in Illinois

Chicago State University

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, Chicago State College is the only postsecondary school in Illinois to offer a bachelor's degree program in physical therapy, though the school itself asserts that the program is one in pre-physical therapy.

Offered through the school's Department of Health Services, this isn't a professional degree, and you can't use it to apply for work as a physical therapist. Graduation can qualify you to apply for admission to a program leading to a master's degree or doctorate in physical therapy. In addition to 77 general education credit hours, the 120-credit program includes courses such as motor learning and development, first aid and CPR certification, physiology, kinesiology, medical terminology, research and physical therapy.

  • Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Pre-Physical Therapy
  • Program Length: Four years, full-time
  • Tuition and Fees (2015-2016): $9,994 for in-state students; $16,954 for out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: Placement tests; immunization records; health insurance; online Sexual Assault Prevention Program
  • School Type: 4-year public; roughly 3,900 undergraduate and nearly 1,300 graduate students

Doctoral Programs in Physical Therapy in Illinois

Midwestern University - Downers Grove

If you participate on a continuous, full-time basis in the APTA-accredited program leading to a Doctor of Physical Therapy at Midwestern University - Downers Grove, it should take you 34 months to complete all degree requirements. However, the school allows you to participate on a part-time basis, which allows you as long as 54 months to complete the 168-credit program.

Required courses include cell and tissue structure and function, physiology, clinical problem solving, professional behavior, orthotics, anatomy and prosthetics. In addition, you'll participate in a number of sessions to familiarize you with physical therapy interventions. Full-time clinical practica, lasting several weeks each, take place throughout the program. You may also choose from electives such as medical Spanish, research, drug abuse and nutrition. You are subjected to regularly scheduled student performance evaluations over the duration of the program. Upon graduation, you'll be eligible to sit for the National Physical Therapy Examination for licensure as a PT in Illinois.

  • Program Name: Doctor of Physical Therapy
  • Program Length: 34 months, full-time
  • Graduate Tuition and Fees (2015-2016): $38,825 per year for in-state students and out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree; GRE scores; first aid course; certification in basic life support (BLS) and CPR; criminal background check
  • Prerequisites: Courses and labs in chemistry, biology, anatomy, physiology and physics; general education courses in social and behavioral sciences, math, statistics, English and psychology; community service activities
  • School Type: 4-year private, not-for-profit; about 2,900 students (all graduate)

Northwestern University

The Department of Physical Therapy and Human Movement Science at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine prides itself on being the oldest physical therapy school in the country. In 2012, U.S. News and World Report ranked Northwestern as one of the top ten physical therapy schools in the United States.

The three years it takes you to complete the APTA-accredited program are broken into trimesters. Among the courses you pursue during the first two years are kinesiology, physiology, human behavior, clinical decision making, neuroscience and patient management under varied conditions. You'll also complete a number of short clinical practica and several seminars. Your final year is taken up entirely by full-time, clinical practica. Upon graduation, you'll be eligible to sit for the National Physical Therapy Examination for licensure as a PT in Illinois.

  • Program Name: Doctor of Physical Therapy
  • Program Length: Three years, full-time
  • Graduate Tuition and Fees (2015-2016): $49,064 per year for in-state and out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: GRE scores; orientation
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree; courses in medical terminology, CPR, composition, behavioral sciences, biological sciences, calculus, chemistry, physics and statistics; time spent in a health-related facility
  • School Type: 4-year private, not-for-profit; over 9,000 undergraduate and about 12,500 graduate students

There are many options for physical therapy degrees in Illinois, and you can select a program with the right degree, requirements and prerequisites to suit your needs.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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