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What to Ask Physical Therapist Schools

By now you probably have come to decision regarding a few of your preliminary queries, like the type of physical therapist degree you want 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 Anniston AL area and across Alabama, you'll need to look into other qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of school options. Moreover, you need to make certain that you select the program that is ideal for you. That's why we have collected a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited?  Find out if the colleges you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you enroll in an online college, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not just the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to guaranteeing 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 Standing? Along with accreditation, it's important that the college and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy 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 rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with a few Anniston AL physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your program options. It may also be prudent to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.

What is the Program's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapist colleges you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Anniston AL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or even outstanding. It also affirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment after graduation.

Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It's important that the school you select furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internships Offered? Find out if the physical therapist colleges you are assessing have relationships with Anniston AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Anniston health care community and assist with job placement once licensed.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program as well.

Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Anniston AL home. Students who have decided to attend classes online 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 choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Help Offered? Most DPT schools offer some type of financial support to their prospective students. Ask if the colleges you are considering have a financial aid department and see what type of aid is offered. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance might be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapist program you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Anniston AL area, confirm 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 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 obligations.

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