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Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Programs

By now you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding several of your preliminary questions, such as the type of physical therapist degree you want to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the Calera AL area and across Alabama, you'll have to explore other qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of school choices. Moreover, you need to be sure that you choose the program that is ideal for you. That's the reason we have compiled a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are considering. Ask each of the potential schools these questions before making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are reviewing have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As earlier mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you select an online college, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's essential that the college and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT college's reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact a few Calera AL physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your college options. It may also be a good idea to check with the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of useful statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Calera AL area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or even exceptional. It also affirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the program you choose furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that supports 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 program. Although licensing requirements differ 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 additional exams.

Are Internships Provided? Ask if the physical therapy programs you are assessing have associations with Calera AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to receive 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 assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Calera medical community and help with job placement after licensing.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program also.

Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Calera AL home. 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 importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even 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 frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Help Offered? The majority of DPT colleges provide some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are examining have a financial assistance office and see what type of help is available. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. Some physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance may be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapy school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Calera AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.

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