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What to Ask Physical Therapy Schools

By now you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding several of your initial questions, including the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the Andalusia AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll have to explore other qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of school options. Moreover, you want to be sure that you enroll in the program that is right for you. That's why we have compiled a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are considering. Ask all of the competing schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As earlier 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 college, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapist program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure 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 may be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the School's Reputation? Along with accreditation, it's essential that the school and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT school'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 organizations for their reviews as well. Call a few Andalusia AL physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your college selections. It may also be a good idea to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the Program's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you should know 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 teachers, or both. After 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 Andalusia AL area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also confirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's important that the college you enroll in furnishes both superior 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) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.

Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are reviewing have relationships with Andalusia AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Andalusia medical community and help with job placement after licensing.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. 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 perspectives regarding the physical therapist program as well.

Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Andalusia AL home. Students who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind 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 commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT colleges supply some type of financial aid to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are examining have a financial aid department and find out what type of help is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. Some physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid may be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapy college you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Andalusia AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.

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