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Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Schools

By now you probably have made a decision regarding several of your initial questions, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you want to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Alabaster AL area and across Alabama, you'll have to research other qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of school options. Furthermore, you need to make sure that you select the school that is right for you. That's the reason we have put together a list of essential 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?  Ask if the programs you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national 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 imperative that both the physical therapist program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the College's Ranking? Along with accreditation, it's essential that the college and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT college's reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Get in touch with some Alabaster AL physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your school options. It may also be prudent to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Alabaster AL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even outstanding. It also confirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It's important that the school you choose provides both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria for Alabama 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 therapist program. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are interested in have associations with Alabaster AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, 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 Alabaster healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapy program also.

Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Alabaster AL home. Individuals 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 importance. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program 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 commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Support Offered? Most DPT schools offer some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are examining have a financial aid department and see what type of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. Some physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance might be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist college you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Alabaster AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.

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