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Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges

By now you most likely have made a decision concerning a few of your preliminary queries, including the type of physical therapist degree you intend to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Arab AL area and across Alabama, you'll have to research other qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of college choices. Also, you want to be sure that you pick the program that is ideal for you. That's why we have collected a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously 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 choose an online school, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the College's Ranking? Along with accreditation, it's important that the college and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several ways you can look into a PT college's reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with some Arab AL physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your college options. It might also be a good idea to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the schools.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? There are a two relevant statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Arab AL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also verifies that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the college you choose furnishes both excellent training and a course of study 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 college. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapist programs you are interested in have associations with Arab AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to get practical 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 help students and graduates form professional connections in the Arab healthcare community and help with job placement after licensing.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools 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 ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapy program as well.

Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they select will have to be within driving distance of their Arab AL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online 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 consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT colleges provide some type of financial support to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid office and find out what type of help is offered. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid may be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapist college you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Arab AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.

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