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What to Ask Physical Therapy Programs

At this point you probably have come to decision regarding a few of your preliminary questions, including the kind of physical therapy degree you want to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the Daphne AL area and across Alabama, you'll need to explore other qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college choices. Moreover, you need to make certain that you choose the program that is right for you. That's why we have put together a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited?  Ask if the schools you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. 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 choose an online college, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative 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. In addition to ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program's Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it's important that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can research a PT school's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Call a few Daphne AL physical therapy clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your program selections. It might also be prudent to check with the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.

What is the Program's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist colleges you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students left because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Daphne AL area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even outstanding. It also affirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the program you choose provides both exceptional training and a course of study 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. While licensing requirements differ 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 Internships Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapist colleges you are evaluating have associations with Daphne AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Daphne medical community and assist with job placement once licensed.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapy program also.

Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Daphne AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry 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 program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT colleges supply some form of financial aid to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are looking at have a financial assistance department and find out what kind of assistance is available. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid may be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapist program you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Daphne AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.

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