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Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Schools

At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding a few of your initial queries, such as the type of physical therapy degree you intend to attain, where you want 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 Chickasaw AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll need to research additional qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of school choices. Also, you need to make certain that you pick the school that is ideal for you. That's why we have collected a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering. Ask all of the potential schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are considering have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As earlier 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 enroll in an online school, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapist program and school you select are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program's Ranking? Along with accreditation, it's imperative that the college and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. 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 may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact a few Chickasaw AL physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your school selections. It might 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 School's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapy colleges you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might mean that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Chickasaw AL area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or even exceptional. It also confirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the school you select provides both exceptional training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the physical therapy programs you are interested in have associations with Chickasaw AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students establish professional connections in the Chickasaw healthcare community and assist with job placement once licensed.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapy program also.

Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Chickasaw AL home. Those who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing 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 may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? The majority of DPT schools offer some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are considering have a financial assistance office and find out what type of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance may be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapy school you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Chickasaw AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.

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