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What to Ask Physical Therapy Programs

At this point you probably have made a decision regarding some of your preliminary queries, including the kind of physical therapist degree you want to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Boaz AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll need to explore additional qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of school choices. Furthermore, you need to make sure that you pick the program that is ideal for you. That's the reason we have compiled a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing schools these questions prior to making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited?  Ask if the programs you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As earlier stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online program, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the College's Ranking? Along with accreditation, it's essential that the college and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can investigate a PT college's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call a few Boaz AL physical therapy clinics or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your school options. It may also be prudent to check with the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the College's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two significant statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students left because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Boaz AL area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even exceptional. It also affirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It's important that the program you select furnishes both exceptional 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) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapy programs you are assessing have partnerships with Boaz AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to get hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional connections in the Boaz medical community and help with job placement once licensed.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are looking at 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 decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program as well.

Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Boaz AL residence. Students who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT colleges provide some type of financial support to their prospective students. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial assistance department and find out what type of assistance is available. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. Some physical therapy schools offer 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 Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapist college you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Boaz AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.

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