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What to Ask Physical Therapist Programs

By now you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding several of your initial questions, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are so many PT colleges within the Center Point AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll have to look into additional qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of school choices. Also, you need to make sure that you enroll in the program that is best for you. That's the reason we have collected a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are considering. Ask all of the competing schools these questions prior to making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As previously 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 imperative that both the physical therapy program and school 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. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the College's Standing? In addition to accreditation, it's essential that the school and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT college's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Contact a few Center Point AL physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your program selections. It may also be prudent 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 Program's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapist programs you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Center Point AL area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also verifies that the college has a broad 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 furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapy programs you are assessing have partnerships with Center Point AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Center Point medical community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapy program as well.

Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Center Point AL home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing 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 have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Aid Provided? The majority of DPT colleges supply some type of financial support to their prospective students. Ask if the schools you are considering have a financial aid office and see what type of help is available. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. Some physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance might be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapy school you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Center Point AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.

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