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What to Ask Physical Therapy Programs

By now you most likely have made a decision regarding some of your preliminary questions, including the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the East Florence AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll need to research additional qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of school options. Also, you need to make sure that you select the school that is right for you. That's the reason we have compiled a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited?  Find out if the schools you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As previously 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 school, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapist school and program you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program's Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it's essential that the college and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can research a PT school's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Contact a few East Florence AL physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your school options. It might also be prudent to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of important statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist programs you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students left because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the college's job placement program, particularly in the East Florence AL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even excellent. It also confirms that the program has a large network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It's imperative that the college you enroll in provides both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are reviewing have associations with East Florence AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the East Florence healthcare community and help with job placement once licensed.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the physical therapist program also.

Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist school they choose will need to be within driving distance of their East Florence AL home. Those who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern 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 choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT schools offer some form of financial support to their prospective students. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and see what kind of aid is offered. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid might be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapist college you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the East Florence AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.

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