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Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Programs

At this point you probably have made a decision regarding a few of your initial queries, like the type of physical therapy degree you want to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Bay Minette AL area and across Alabama, you'll need to explore additional qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of college choices. Also, you want to make sure that you choose the college that is right for you. That's why we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are considering. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited?  Ask if the programs you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you enroll in an online school, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Also, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the School's Reputation? Along with accreditation, it's imperative that the college and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT school'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 organizations for their reviews also. Contact a few Bay Minette AL physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your program options. It might also be prudent to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapy programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students left due to displeasure 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 college's job placement program, particularly in the Bay Minette AL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even excellent. It also affirms that the school has a large network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the school you choose provides both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports 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 differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internships Offered? Find out if the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing have partnerships with Bay Minette AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Bay Minette medical community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapy program also.

Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Bay Minette AL home. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT schools provide some form of financial support to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are considering have a financial assistance department and see what kind of assistance is offered. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid may be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapy program you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Bay Minette AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.

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