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Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Programs

By now you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding several of your initial queries, including the kind of physical therapy degree you intend to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Athens AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll have to look into additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Furthermore, you need to be sure that you enroll in the college that is right for you. That's why we have put together a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential schools these questions before making a final decision.

Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited?  Find out if the colleges you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. 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 choose an online program, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapy school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the College's Reputation? Along with accreditation, it's imperative that the school and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT program's reputation, starting with requesting 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. Get in touch with some Athens AL physical therapy clinics or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your college options. It may also be prudent 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 School's Job Placement Rate? There are a two useful statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students left because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Athens AL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even excellent. It also affirms that the college has a large network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the school you select provides both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements 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 program. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapy programs you are assessing have partnerships with Athens AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Athens healthcare community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program as well.

Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Athens AL home. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT schools provide some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance office and find out what type of help is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid might be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapist program you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Athens AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.

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