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Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges

By now you most likely have made a decision regarding a few of your initial questions, like the kind of physical therapy degree you want to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Atmore AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll have to research other qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of college choices. Moreover, you want to be sure that you select the school that is best for you. That's why we have put together a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously stated, 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 receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapist program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the Program's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's important that the college and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. 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 may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact some Atmore AL physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your school options. 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 colleges.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of useful statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may 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 placed in jobs with the support of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Atmore AL area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical 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 jobs after graduation.

Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the program you choose provides both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internships Provided? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are interested in have relationships with Atmore AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Atmore health care community and assist with job placement after licensing.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapy program as well.

Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Atmore AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Help Provided? Most DPT schools provide some form of financial support to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and see what type of assistance is offered. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. Some physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid might be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapy program you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Atmore AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.

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